A case of MRSA has been reported at the congested asylum processing centre at Manston in Kent, the Guardian has learned, after it emerged that Suella Braverman ignored advice that people were being kept at the centre unlawfully.
The antibiotic-resistant bacteria was identified in an asylum seeker who initially tested positive for diphtheria. But the asylum seeker was moved out of the site in Ramsgate to a hotel hundreds of miles away before the positive test result was received, raising concerns about the spread of the infection.
The Manston site is understood to now have at least eight confirmed cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious and potentially serious bacterial infection.
Migrants are meant to be held at the short-term holding facility, which opened in January, for 24 hours while they undergo checks before being moved into immigration detention centres or asylum accommodation such as a hotel.
But giving evidence to a committee of MPs last week, David Neal, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said he had spoken to a family from Afghanistan living in a marquee for 32 days, and two families from Iraq and Syria sleeping on mats with blankets for two weeks. Conditions at the site left him “speechless”, he said.
On a visit to the site on 24 October, Neal was told there were four confirmed cases of diphtheria.
Protective medical equipment for staff has now been brought on to the site. Although diphtheria is a notifiable disease, meaning cases must be reported to authorities, those at Manston have not appeared on weekly public health reports.
A Home Office spokesperson said it was “aware of a very small number of cases of diphtheria reported at Manston”, and that proper medical guidance and protocols were being followed.
Source: The Guardian, 30 October 2022
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