More migrants make Channel crossing as month's total nears 1,000

Border Force intercepts more migrants crossing the Channel as number to make dangerous journey during soaring temperatures this month reaches almost 1,000

  • 179 people arrived in Dover yesterday and more pictured arriving today
  • Yesterday’s figures bring the June total so far to 998 people in nine days
  • Immigration Services Union said 5-10 arrivals per day testing positive for Covid
  • But the Home Office disputes this, saying no arrivals in May or June had virus 
  • 2021 arrivals expected to far outstrip last year’s 8,400 if current rates continue

Nearly 1,000 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats this month as temperatures soar – making June a potential recording breaking period if ideal sea conditions continue.

Border Force officials intercepted 179 people including children and a baby making the dangerous 21-mile journey in six boats yesterday, and more were pictured arriving at the Dover Marina today. 

Yesterday’s figure takes the total to cross the Dover Strait during the first nine days of the month to 998 people on board 40 boats.

Just 407 made the treacherous trip in the same timeframe last month – with May ending up smashing the monthly record as 1,619 migrants arrived in 80 boats.

The landmark 1,000 figure is expected to be surpassed today. 

More migrants arriving in Dover today, after the Home Office said 179 people made the dangerous crossing to the UK yesterday

People aboard small boats were pictured being taken to UK shores by Border Force officials this morning 

People crossing to Dover being taken to a holding facility by Border Force officials today 

A man who made the Channel crossing today huddled in a blanket, as temperatures soared to 66F in Dover meaning more people are likely to arrive throughout the day

Several people being brought ashore today at the Port of Dover, following the arrival of 179 migrants including a child and baby yesterday

French authorities also prevented a further 95 people from arriving yesterday in five boats, according to the Home Office.

Border Force are believed to be preparing for an influx of migrants over the next few days due to near perfect weather conditions at sea, as Dover temperatures hit 66F today. 

So far this year, 4,725 migrants have crossed the Channel, and 8,410 made the journey in 2020.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Criminal gangs are putting profits before people’s lives through these dangerous and unnecessary crossings.

‘More than 4,000 people have been prevented from making the dangerous crossing so far this year and we are cracking down on the despicable criminal gangs behind people smuggling.

‘Inaction is not an option whilst people are dying. The Government is bringing legislation forward through our New Plan for Immigration which will break the business model of these heinous people smuggling networks and save lives.’  

A border force vessel carries newly arrived migrants after being picked up in a dinghy in the English Channel yesterday

A Border Force official holds a young girl that arrived with other migrants after they were picked up in a dinghy yesterday

An official guided newly arrived migrants to a holding facility after they were picked up in a dinghy 

The UK has been enjoying a mini-heatwave, which sent temperatures soaring to 82.4F yesterday. 

It comes after a Border Force union official warned cross-channel migrants are bringing high levels of Covid with them when they arrive in the UK.

One official was seen holding a young girl who arrived in the UK, while another held a newborn baby which arrived with the other migrants.  

Lucy Moreton, of the Immigration Services Union, said that staff were reporting between five and 10 arrivals every day were testing positive upon arrival.  

But because the migrants are often crammed onto tiny boats to make the dash a cross from the Continent they were risking spreading the virus to many others.   

It comes after a Border Force union official warned cross-channel migrants are bringing high levels of Covid with them when they arrive in the UK

More than 500 migrants arrived in the final week of May, according to the UK Home Office, adding that 3,600 people had been stopped from crossing the channel by French authorities

One official was seen holding a young girl who arrived in Dover yesterday

Another held a newborn baby wrapped in a blue blanket which arrived with the other migrants yesterday

It came as Home Secretary Priti Patel came under pressure to sort out the crisis at the UK’s borders as the high season for Channel crossings gets underway.

This year the number of arrivals expected to reach the south coast from France will far outstrip last year’s 8,400 if current rates continue.

Ms Moreton told the Times: ‘We have positive arrivals all the time, putting staff and migrants at risk of infection. 

Lucy Moreton, of the Immigration Services Union, said that staff were reporting between five and 10 arrivals every day were testing positive upon arrival (pictured: Border Force officials guide newly arrived migrants) 

This year the number of arrivals expected to reach the south coast from France will far outstrip last year’s 8,400 if current rates continue (pictured: A Border Force official holds a young girl that arrived with other migrants after they were picked up in a dinghy) 

Dinghies were pictured stacked up while Border Force officials guide newly arrived migrants to a holding facility 

‘We have a handful, between five and 10 a day, testing positive, but anyone who has been in close contact with them – and that could be a lot, because of overcrowding – risks catching the virus.’

It’s believed that the infection rate among arrivals could be around three per cent, compared to the UK population rate of 0.16 per cent, the Times reported. 

However the Home Office denied that recent arrivals had brought Covid with them, with a spokeswoman today saying: ‘These numbers are completely wrong.

Because the migrants are often crammed onto tiny boats to make the dash a cross from the Continent they risk spreading the virus to many others

Border Force officials guide a pregnant lady ahead of other newly arrived migrants to a holding facility after being picked up in a dinghy in the English Channel

Lucy Moreton, of the Immigration Services Union, said that staff were reporting between five and 10 arrivals every day were testing positive upon arrival.

‘In May and so far in June no migrants arriving via small boat have received a positive Covid test. 

‘Testing is in place to reduce the risk of infection for staff, contractors and small boat arrivals who might come into contact with other arrivals the same day who are Covid positive.’ 

Some 250 minors have made the dangerous journey across the Channel this year so far, including 50 over the recent Bank Holiday weekend. They include large numbers of unaccompanied girls, leaving local authorities fearful that they will be targeted by criminal gangs.

The numbers of migrants risking the dangerous journey are rising despite Ms Patel’s pledge in March to overhaul the immigration system and to make illegal Channel crossings ‘unviable’.  

The Home Secretary blamed the spiralling crisis on social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter who allow people-smugglers to use their platforms to advertise their criminal services. 

 One video showing migrants travelling from Calais to Dover has been seen more than 800,000 on Chinese-owned TikTok. 

In the strongly worded letter which has been seen by this newspaper, Ms Patel asks the internet giants to ‘put an end to the exploitation of your platforms by criminals involved in organised immigration crime’ as more people than ever are making ‘incredibly dangerous journeys across the Channel’. 

At the weekend, Ms Patel ordered an urgent investigation after a Border Force boat brought dinghy migrants from French waters to Dover.

The UK’s 140ft cutter Valiant headed to the French side of the Channel and launched a fast inflatable boat to collect migrants and take them to Dover after discussions with local authorities.

The incident  at the end of May was orchestrated between senior crew members of HMC Valiant and French patrol ship Athos.

During a revealing maritime radio conversation, a recording of which was obtained by the Mail this week, the officers discuss the ‘legality’ of the operation. 

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