United Kingdom

Travellers cannot be moved on from illegal camp because they say they have Covid

A council have had to delay moving on a group of travellers from an illegal camp because they claimed to have Covid. 

Around ten mobile homes and caravans were parked in the open space in Walderslade, Kent, on Friday, but eviction measures were delayed after several of the group claimed to be ill. 

However, they were issued with coronavirus tests by the council and will now be moved on. 

Councillor Adrian Gulvin, who represents Walderslade, explained Medway Council and police visited the encampment to complete welfare checks.

Around ten mobile homes and caravans were parked in the open space in Walderslade, Kent, on Friday, but eviction measures were delayed after several of the group claimed to be ill

He said earlier this week: 'Officials were told a couple of them have Covid. The ward councillors have been in contact with the Director of Public Health to arrange for testing and inoculations for them.

'Until it is proven they haven't got the virus we cannot move them on, where it could be spread throughout different locations. That would be totally irresponsible.

'The first stage of the legal process on eviction is the welfare checks, but everything has to go on hold until we can determine the Covid status. That's why urgent work is happening with the public health department.'

But one nearby resident claimed to have seen some people at the site continue to come and go and raised fears that this could still potentially spread Covid.

The travellers were issued with coronavirus tests by the council and will now be moved on

Councillor Adrian Gulvin, who represents Walderslade, explained Medway Council and police visited the encampment (pictured) to complete welfare checks

One nearby resident claimed to have seen some people at the site continue to come and go and raised fears that this could still potentially spread Covid

The resident, who asked not to be named, said: 'I haven't seen much evidence of social isolation.

'It surely must be easy to get lateral flow tests delivered as soon as possible as we're worried about the risks to health of people nearby.'

He added: 'We've experienced noise with people arguing among themselves and local dog walkers who use the field for recreational purposes.

Dog walkers complained that they could no longer use the field due to an intimidating dog

'Their dog is attacking local dogs and the field is no longer available to use without feeling intimidated. We are concerned more will join them, making even more noise and mess.'

A Medway Council spokesman said today: 'We have worked with the group, and our partners, to ensure they received advice and support, and we arranged for testing to take place. 

'We will now be following a civil legal process to move the group on as quickly as possible.' 

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