China Administered Anal Swab COVID Tests to US Diplomats, Says They Were Done “In Error” After State Department Complaint

After subjecting US diplomats to anal swab COVID-19 tests, the Chinese government has said the tests were “in error” and that they would stop administering them.

A State Department spokesperson told VICE News that the 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.”

The Chinese government responded by claiming that the anal swab tests were given “in error.” Although they are required for incoming travelers in certain parts of China, diplomats are supposed to be exempt.

China also said “we have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past.” If true, the diplomats either willingly took the anal swab test or simply forgot that they had the option to decline. But it is also possible that they were never told they could decline, or that the authorities forced them rather than “asked” them.

Some Chinese authorities maintain that anal swab testing is more effective than traditional testing procedures like throat and nose swabs, though there is disagreement on that matter:

Officials in Beijing are using anal swabs to test for COVID-19 in children as young as nine years old, arguing that this manner of testing is more effective than traditional measures.

Li Tongzeng, who works as deputy director in charge of infectious disease for Beijing You’an Hospital, is claiming that COVID-19 lasts longer in the anus. This is the public health reason being used to violate children in China.

Yang Zhanqiu, who works as deputy director for the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, believes that anal swabs are not adequate for testing. He argues that nasal and throat swabs are more effective because the virus is typically contracted through the upper respiratory tract.

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