Almost 200 asylum seekers being put up by the taxpayer at Napier Barracks have tested positive for Covid 19 amid rising anger migrants crossing the Channel illegally are not being put through the same rigorous Covid quarantine procedures as law-abiding travellers.
Even more shocking, just 1% of migrants being brought and processed in Britain, having floated over from northern France, are going straight into quarantine, UK Border Force has confirmed.
News of the positive Covid tests follows the frightening revelation Britain is braced for 10,000 boat migrants this year, a figure made all the more vivid by dramatic scenes shot on a Kent beach earlier this week of trafficked people scarpering from their landing craft (see below).
Last month, 178 migrants tested positive for Covid at Napier Barracks with a further 19 confirmed to have contracted the lethal and highly infectious virus in February, meaning that more than half of the barracks’ residents have caught Covid.
An earlier outbreak led to 100 migrants being moved out to nearby hotels, again, at the taxpayer’s inconvenience.
The Home Office insists that no-one currently at the camp is Covid-positive, indicating the number of former residents moved out of the camp to quarantined accommodation has now doubled.
This latest development has heated up an already simmering row between MPs furious that cross-Channel migrants are getting an easier ride than people travelling from ‘red list’ Covid hotspots who have to endure long periods of quarantine at their own expense.
Local MP, Natalie Elphicke has demanded a “compulsory period of quarantine in order to reduce the transmission risk when the countries of origin cannot be properly identified and confirmed,” adding that the “assumption should be that they may have travelled through a higher-risk country.”
Unsurprisingly, migrants typically arrive without information on where they have travelled and no previous medical history. Though France is not a red list country – Portugal for instance is because of the large volume of travel with Brazil where a very dangerous variant has spread – the infection rate in the Pas de Calais region of northern France where migrants launch from is high, between 300 (Calais) and 660 (Dunkirk) cases per 100,000 compared to just 67 in Dover. France recently went into lockdown.
Elphicke was joined by her Conservative colleague, Tim Loughton.
“The Home Office needs to apply at least the same quarantine restrictions as they do for people from ‘red list’ countries, not least because of the infection rate in northern France,” said Loughton.
“That’s not happening. They have been sending them to Brooke House [Removal Centre, near Gatwick] as well, 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.”
Napier barracks has gained notoriety since the beginning of the year after migrants set fire to one of the buildings. A police officer has also been assaulted. Meanwhile, social justice campaigners have been trying to get the migrants freed on the basis the camp’s conditions violate their human rights.