Manston in Kent is supposed to house up to 1,600 people for no more than 24 hours, but about 4,000 people were on site earlier this month.
There has been extensive criticism of the circumstances, which have resulted in outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies. The Home Office has determined that a man who died after living at the Manston immigration processing centre in Kent indeed had diphtheria.
According to a government spokeswoman, early local hospital tests were false negatives, and further testing revealed that diphtheria may have been the cause of the man’s sickness. Because post-mortem exams are still being conducted, the official cause of death cannot yet be determined. He is said to have arrived in the UK aboard a small boat and was staying at the Manston facility in Kent.
The Home Office first said that there was “no evidence at this stage” that the death was “caused by an infectious disease,” but when hundreds of cases were verified, everyone at the centre was vaccinated against diphtheria.
Last night, a government spokeswoman stated that “our thoughts remain with the family of the man who has died and all those affected by this loss”.
“We take the safety and welfare of those in our care extremely seriously and are taking all of the necessary steps following these results,” they added.
The conditions in which migrants were being housed at the centre have been criticised, with cases of diphtheria and scabies recorded.
Manston is supposed to host up to 1,600 people for no more than 24 hours, but earlier this month, there were about 4,000 on site, forcing the use of temporary marquees.
According to Sky News, some refugees were threatening to self-harm or go on a hunger strike, and anger was “spreading across the camp.”
Others appealed for assistance by throwing a message in a bottle over the boundary fence.