A man who died after being held at Manston reception centre in Kent, where initial checks are carried out on small boat arrivals, has been named as Hussein Haseeb Ahmed, a 31-year-old from Iraq.
Ahmed arrived in the UK on a small boat on 12 November and was being processed at Manston when he became ill and died in hospital on 19 November.
Initially, the Home Office said he was not believed to have had diphtheria but officials later said a PCR test had confirmed he had the infection. It is not yet known if diphtheria was the cause of his death.
The death is the subject of a coronial investigation and one by the prisons and probation ombudsman.
The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed there have been 50 diphtheria cases this year, 49 of them relating to asylum seekers in Manston in October and November.
There have been reports of further cases at Manston in the past few days. After a week without small boat crossings because of poor weather conditions, crossings have resumed, and after Manston was emptiedat the end of last month it has started to take in new arrivals again.
Home Office sources said they would not be providing a “running commentary” on diphtheria cases at Manston.
A spokesperson said: “It is untrue to suggest there is an outbreak on site. Migrants are arriving at Manston with diphtheria. We take both the welfare of those in our care and our wider public health responsibilities extremely seriously.”
Regarding the man who died after falling ill at Manston a Home Office spokesperson said: “We can confirm the identity of the man who died in hospital after being detained at Manston as Hussein Haseeb Ahmed, a 31-year-old Iraqi national.
“Our thoughts continue to be with his family and all those who have been affected by this loss. The family have been offered support and have requested privacy during this difficult time.”
Home Office sources said that after next of kin were informed they were offered support by a Home Office family liaison officer.