Many British MPs expressed their condemnation of the ‘shocking conditions’ at facilities for asylum seekers entering the country.
This came after Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee revealed that 56 migrants, including women with babies and children, were found packed into a small room in the port town of Dover.
Chairwoman Yvette Cooper, an opposition Labour Party lawmaker, said the crowded conditions created a “clear risk” of a COVID-19 outbreak.
“The space is clearly unfit for holding this many people,” Cooper said in a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, Britain’s immigration minister. “Most people were sitting or lying on a thin mattress and those covered almost the entirety of the floor including the aisles between seats.
“Sharing these cramped conditions were many women with babies and very young children, alongside significant numbers of teenage and young adult men.”
The Home Office said, “unacceptable numbers of people are making life-threatening journeys crossing the Channel at the hands of criminal trafficking gangs.”
“We take the welfare of migrants extremely seriously, and despite these pressures, we have improved our facilities, arranged additional staffing and are working to process people as quickly and safely as possible,” it said in a statement to the BBC.
The Government Comment
A government spokesperson also commented on the issue, saying, “To meet our legal duties, additional temporary accommodation is being used to house asylum-seeking children in safe and secure accommodation, before placements can take place through the national transfer scheme.
“The Home Office continues to work with all local authorities as well as the Department for Education to ensure needs are met.