China refutes reports that said it used Covid-19 anal swabs on US diplomats

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Feb 25, 2021, 03:39 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in China Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

China -- which has largely brought the virus under control domestically -- said last month that anal swabs can be more effective than normal throat and nose swabs as the virus can linger longer in the digestive system.

China has clarified it had never asked US diplomats to undergo Covid-19 anal swabs.

The statement on Thursday came following American media reports that State Department personnel had complained of being subjected to the intrusive test.

China -- which has largely brought the virus under control domestically -- said last month that anal swabs can be more effective than normal throat and nose swabs as the virus can linger longer in the digestive system.

China began using anal swabs to test people at high risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, in January.

Also read | China deploys anal swabs to test for coronavirus

On Thursday, Beijing rebuffed reports from Vice and Washington Post -- citing US officials -- that State Department employees in China had been given the test "in error," despite diplomats being exempt from the procedure.

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

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 international travellers.

In order to confirm if the method works, officials took anal swabs from residents of neighbourhoods with confirmed Covid-19 cases in Beijing. Those in designated quarantine facilities also underwent the test.

State media reports that anal swabs had been used in Beijing during a small outbreak in January caused a social media uproar, with many commenters on Twitter-like Weibo reacting with a mix of horror and amusement.

(with inputs from agencies)

Read in App