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S. Korea to step up TB screening of foreigners


South Korea is to implement stricter screening of foreigners with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis to prevent any inflow of the infectious disease, Korea Centers of Disease Control said Tuesday.

Effective Wednesday, a total of 16 countries, including Kazakhstan, Ukraine and South Africa, have been added to the list of high-risk countries for tuberculosis, which brings the number of countries in the category to 35, according to the KCDC.

Foreigners from high risk countries seeking a long-term visa are obligated to undergo testing for tuberculosis.

Those confirmed with the disease will not be issued a long-term visa until fully recovered, the KCDC said.

Foreign multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients in Korea rose by 19 people last year from the previous year, totaling 107.

“The strengthened screening of foreigners with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis will prevent the inflow of tuberculosis patients from overseas and contribute to management of foreigners with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Korea,” KCDC Director General Jeong Eun-kyeong and Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae jointly said in a statement.

Long-term visa issuance will also be limited for foreigners from risk countries staying here on a short-term visa who are found to have multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the process of transitioning to long-term authorization.

Foreigner multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients will undergo treatment at a hospital here and be directed to return home, the KCDC said.

By Kim Bo-gyung (