China's anal swab tests for COVID-19 have caused inconvenience to the foreigners prompting complaints of inconvenience and even psychological trauma. Now, serious questions are being raised about its necessity.
These anal swab tests happen only in few cities like Beijing, Shanghai and the port city of Qingdao, in addition to nasal or throat swab tests, for some international arrivals, state media say.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control says the test is performed with a sterile cotton swab, which looks like a very long earbud, that is inserted 3 cm to 5 cm (1.2 inches to 2 inches) into the anus before being gently rotated out. Such tests can ensure infections are spotted since coronavirus traces can be detectable in the anus for longer than in the respiratory tract, some Chinese doctors told state media.
Early this week, Tokyo complained about the tests on some Japanese travellers to China, saying they had caused "great psychological pain". South Korean visitors can now submit stool samples instead of "Chinese authorities taking them directly", Choi Young-Sam, a spokesman of the South Korean foreign ministry, said on Tuesday. Last month, US media outlet Vice cited a State Department official as saying US diplomats received the tests, which was refuted by the Chinese foreign ministry.