Anyone traveling into China may now be forced to have a new anal swab test to screen for COVID-19, according to newly received reports.
“China has made anal swab tests for the coronavirus mandatory for almost all international arrivals, deepening a row with other countries over a practice many have described as humiliating,” The Times of London reported.
This has prompted numerous protests and statements from foreign peoples and governments.
“The Japanese government has already raised concern about its citizens being subjected to the ‘undignified’ procedure while American diplomats have also complained,” the Times of London wrote. “Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said it would ask China to alter its testing regimen after some Japanese travelers reported suffering ‘psychological pain’ from the invasive procedure.”
Germany has also expressed its concerns and displeasure about the new forced tests, saying that some of its citizens had faced “tightened procedures,” as stated by Vice News.
“We have repeatedly raised that issue vis-à-vis the Chinese government, especially with regard to the medical tests and examinations that are taking place against the will of the persons concerned,” a German diplomatic source told the website.
In Shanghai, travelers from high-risk regions and fliers who arrive on airplanes with at least five positive cases are forced to submit to a full battery of tests, including anal swabs, the Daily Mail reported.
“China’s disease control centre says the test is performed with a sterile swab that is inserted up to two inches into the anus before being gently rotated out,” the Mail stated.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin tried to defend the invasive anal swabs as “science-based” and says the tests are “in accordance with the changes in the epidemic situation as well as relevant laws and regulations.”
The Daily Mail cited Li Tongzeng from Beijing’s You’an Hospital, who said stated that traces of the Covid-19 virus are detectable for a longer period in the anus or feces than on samples taken from the throat or sinuses.
“We found that some asymptomatic patients tend to recover quickly. It’s possible that there will be no trace of the virus in their throat after three to five days,” Li said. “But the virus lasts longer from the samples taken from the patient’s digestive tract and excrement, compared to the ones taken from the respiratory tract.”
“If we conduct anal swabs for nucleic acid testing, it would increase the detection rates of patients and lower the chance of a missed diagnosis,” the expert said.