THE death of a man at the Manston migrant processing centre may have been caused by a diphtheria infection, the Home Office has said.

A Government spokesperson said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of the man who has died and all those affected by this loss.

“Initial test results processed by a local hospital for an infectious disease were negative, but a follow-up PCR test was positive, indicating that diphtheria may be the cause of the illness. The coroner will conclude in due course.

“We take the safety and welfare of those in our care extremely seriously and are taking all of the necessary steps following these results.

“We are offering diphtheria vaccinations to people at Manston, which has 24/7 health facilities and trained medical staff.”

The Home Office initially said there was no evidence of the man's death being caused by disease. 

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At one point as many as 4,000 people were being detained at the site, which is designed to hold just 1,600.

This number later dropped to within capacity after it was revealed that diseases were spreading amongst residents, including diphtheria and scabies. 

Asylum seekers are meant to be at Manston for only short periods of time while undergoing security and identity checks, before being moved to the Home Office’s asylum accommodation.

However, some people have been held for longer periods due to a lack of alternative accommodation. 

Ahead of the man’s death, the UK Health Security Agency identified 39 diphtheria cases in asylum seekers in England in 2022, as of November 10.

The health authority warned that accommodation settings should be considered “high-risk for infectious diseases”.

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Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been coming under criticism for the dire conditions in Manston, and for failing to slow the perilous crossings of the English Channel by people in small boats.

This week she admitted the Government has “failed to control our borders” but blamed desperate migrants and people smugglers for the overcrowding in Manston.

“I tell you who’s at fault. It’s very clear who’s at fault. It’s the people who are breaking our rules, coming here illegally, exploiting vulnerable people and trying to reduce the generosity of the British people. That’s who’s at fault,” she told MPs.