China denies using Covid-19 anal swabs on USA diplomats

Joanna Estrada
February 26, 2021

The State Department accused China of making U.S. diplomats take anal COVID-19 tests, Vice reported.

Asked about the report at a Thursday press briefing, according to the country's official transcript, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: "I have checked with my colleagues".

"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 World News on Wednesday. Even though outside travelers to some parts of China are made to take the test, a State Department rep says China told the department that test had been given "in error" to U.S. diplomatic personnel, as they're exempt from it.

China's foreign ministry denied on Thursday that USA diplomats in the country had been required to take anal swab tests for COVID-19, following media reports that some had complained about the procedure.

"We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past".

In a statement, the State Department said that it is committed to preserving the "dignity" of American diplomats.

Officials in China have used anal swabs to test people it considers at high-risk of contracting Covid-19, including residents of neighbourhoods with confirmed cases as well as some global travellers.

Some Chinese cities used samples taken from the anus to detect potential infections amid stepped-up screening during a spate of regional outbreaks ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.

"The use of anal swabs is limited because it's invasive and inconvenient".

Insider reported that the test involves inserting a cotton-tipped swab one to two inches into the rectum and rotating it.

Vice News recalled that an Australian traveler who was subjected to the anal test said it "felt like having diarrhea".

Zhao did not say whether China had already conducted anal swab tests on United States officials.

"China has never requested U.S. diplomatic personnel in China to undergo anal swabs", foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing Thursday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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