TB testing on visitors to Britain increases

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Two hundred thousand visitors to Britain a year will be required to undergo tuberculosis tests in a significant expansion to a controversial screening programme.

Ministers are about to add nine more countries to a list of nations whose citizens must prove they do not have TB before being allowed to stay in this country for more than six months.

TB in Britain jumped sharply between 2004 and 2005, with a 10.8 per cent rise in cases to 8,113. Most new cases were in the North-west, east Midlands and east of England.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office confirmed that ministers planned to announce changes to the UK's screening programme. Since last October, visitors from Thailand, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Sudan and Cambodia have had to pay around £40 for a certificate showing they do not have TB. Countries that could be added to the list include India, Pakistan, Russia and China.