China formally introduced anal swab testing for COVID-19 in January, insisting that viral traces last longer in stool samples.
On state-run CCTV, Li Tongzeng, an infectious disease specialist at Beijing You’an Hospital said, “If we add anal swab testing, it can raise our rate of identifying infected patients.”
It is mandatory to take a COVID-19 anal swab test when visiting some areas of China.
The State Department confirmed last Thursday to VICE that U.S. diplomats were subjected to anal swab tests for COVID-19 in China.
“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a State Department spokesperson told VICE.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian denied the claims, saying during a press conference that “China has never required US diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests.”
However, a U.S. State Dept. spokesperson said to VICE that Beijing had assured Washington that the tests were given “in error,” and promised to stop using anal swabs on U.S. diplomats.
Today, the Japanese government asked China to stop subjecting Japanese citizens to COVID-19 anal swab tests, claiming that the procedure is causing patients “psychological pain.”
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the government has not received a response from officials in Beijing.