More migrants have been brought ashore in Dover amid fears the coronavirus pandemic has reached refugee camps in northern France.
Suspected migrants in hats and blankets were seen at the Kent port after being met by Border Force officials.
Sea conditions in the English Channel – the busiest shipping lane in the world – were slight with only a gentle breeze on Thursday morning.
It is not yet clear how many boats were intercepted in the Channel on Thursday, but Border Force cutters were active in the Dover straits from the early hours.
Pictures taken at the Port of Dover show a handful of suspected migrants being processed by Border Force staff, many of whom were apparently not wearing any personal protective equipment (PPE).
The latest activity follows a surge of crossing attempts on 25th March, when 169 people were rescued trying to make the treacherous journey.
Following that incident, the Home Office denied the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting its ability to respond to migrant crossings and insisted it still has the resources it needs.
On Wednesday night, Care4Calais charity founder Clare Moseley said the organisation had learned at least one case of Covid-19 has been found in a camp near Dunkirk.
Speaking to the PA news agency, she said she is “very scared” about the implications of the virus spreading to the migrant camps, where access to soap and food is limited.
She called on French authorities to act, saying: “They have to do something now. They have to get them the ability to isolate and separate up because everybody in the camps is going to have it.
“It’s literally a humanitarian disaster. Something has to be done now.”
Tony Eastaugh, Home Office director for crime & enforcement, said: “The people facilitating these small boats crossings are doing so illegally and we are determined to stop these reckless criminal acts.
“We are working around the clock with law enforcement agencies in the UK and France to tackle illegal migrant crossings.
“Our priorities are to arrest and dismantle the organised crime gangs who are prepared to gamble with the lives of others and returning those who have come here illegally, from a safe country.
“Since we intensified our work against people smugglers 16 months ago, the courts have convicted and imprisoned 110 offenders.”
Last week, Bishop Paul McAleenan called on the government and Catholic community to ensure that vulnerable migrants and refugees are not overlooked in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In supporting the Government’s recommendations to curtail the spread of Covid-19 the Church keeps in mind migrants and refugees,” he said. “We must never forget that they are included among the vulnerable.”
Picture: Border Force officers bring to shore men thought to be migrants in Dover, Kent, after small boat incidents in The Channel on Thursday morning as the UK continues its lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Gareth Fuller/PA).