UK-bound Indians may now face TB tests

Updated on Jul 24, 2007 10:11 PM IST

The proposed move is an attempt by the Labour Govt to curb the rising incidence of the contagious disease.

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PTI | By, London

Planning a trip to the United Kingdom? Get ready to undertake medical examination. Yes, visitors from India could be compelled to take tests for tuberculosis before coming to the UK if the British government's proposed scheme in this regard is implemented.

"Currently we have a pilot project with seven countries -- the countries in which TB is most prevalent -- in which we test people before they receive their visas. This is a scheme which is now being evaluated and I think we will probably roll it out to more countries, like China and India," the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday, quoting government whip Baroness Royall of Blaisdon as saying.

The move is an attempt by the Labour government to curb the rising incidence of the disease which usually affects the lungs and spreads by an infected person coughing or sneezing.

Though the scheme is likely to prove unpopular with immigrants arriving in Britain to see relatives or to work as skilled temporary workers, peers said that "everybody coming to the UK for more than six months and all visitors from countries known to have high TB levels should be tested".

In fact, health experts had attacked ministers last month for the government's failure to act after it was revealed that "Britain is the only western European nation experiencing a sustained rise in TB cases".

Around 400 patients die from the disease every year, mainly due to late diagnosis, the daily reported, stating that in 2005 there was an 11 per cent rise in TB cases compared with 2004.

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