Japan and US demand China stop giving ‘humiliating’ Covid anal swabs at airport
Japan and the USA have urged China to stop using Covid-19 anal swabs for all foreign arrivals in airports, claiming the invasive tests are "humiliating".
The procedure involves an eye-wateringly long cotton swab of 5cm up the rectum, which the Chinese government claims to be more precise than the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests carried out using the nose and throat.
As part of the new travel requirement, there will be testing hubs in Beijing and Shanghai airports, the Times reports.
Some Chinese cities have used anal samples to detect potential coronavirus infections during a recent spate of regional outbreaks.
Li Tongzeng, a respiratory disease doctor, told state media that Covid traces stay detectable for longer in the rectum than they do in the nose or throat.
However, the idea of foreign visitors being forced to endure the intrusion has caused some countries to crack.
Japan is urging China to stop using the "undignified" test as some passengers said it caused them "psychological pain".
“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain,” Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, told a news conference.
Last week, China allegedly ordered American diplomats to undergo anal tests sparking a row with the State Department, reports the Sun.
Beijing has denied the claims but Washington has slammed the tests as "undignified" .
According to China's National Health Commission, the whole procedure takes less than 10 seconds, but the effectiveness of anal swabs has been met with criticism from some experts.
Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told state media, Global Times that nasal and throat swabs remain more efficient tests as the virus is a respiratory disease.
He adds: "There have been cases concerning the coronavirus testing positive in a patient's excrement, but no evidence has suggested it had been transmitted through one's digestive system".
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