Migrants arriving illegally via the English Channel have not been made subject to the same quarantine rules as law-abiding citizens from red list countries, it has emerged.
The worrying revelation comes as Conservative MPs call on the Home Office to force migrants to self-isolate under the same rules as those who have arrived from high-risk countries where new variants of Covid-19 are prominent.
The reason being that without knowing the route these migrants have taken to reach Britain, or indeed anything about their medical history or their previous residence, it is impossible to assess the risk of them bringing either an existing or new Covid-19 variant into Britain.
As reported in the Telegraph, Member of the Home Affairs select committee, Tim Loughton reveals that imposing the same quarantine restrictions on illegal migrants as those imposed on arrivals from red list countries is “not happening.”
He claims new Channel migrants are being sent to Brooke House, a removal centre near Gatwick airport “which is not geared up to deal with boat migrants. Others have been at liberty to wander as they wish.
“Absolutely, they need to be subject to the same regime,” Loughton insisted.
Conservative MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke also called for a “compulsory period of quarantine in order to reduce the transmission risk when the countries of origin cannot be properly identified and confirmed.
“It should be similar to the quarantine imposed on people returning from high-risk countries. The same approach should be applied to people who are arriving illegally and the assumption should be that they may have travelled through a higher-risk country.”
More than 170 migrants attempted to reach Britain via the Channel on Monday as calmer sailing conditions encouraged a flotilla of small boats to brave the trip.
126 were intercepted by French authorities but more than 50 reached Britain’s shores and were detained by immigration officials.
A boat containing 21 migrants was filmed arriving undetected on a beach in Kent on Tuesday morning. Its occupants ditched their life jackets and scarpered, much to the shock of early morning dog walkers.
The migrants were eventually caught by Kent Police and detained.
Another 77 were brought ashore by Border Force to a port in Dover after arriving on four separate vessels.
Home Secretary Priti Patel will appear before the Home Affairs select committee on Wednesday where she can expect to face some testing questions on the Home Office’s response to the latest influx of illegal arrivals to Britain.