China denied this Thursday having inflicted anal Covid-19 screening on American diplomats, in the hope of defusing an emerging controversy between the two powers. The Asian giant, which has largely contained the contamination on its soil, began at the beginning of the year to generalize the rectal tests, considered more reliable than the traditional methods of sampling in the nose or the throat, the coronavirus being able to remain present longer in the digestive system.
According to US media Vice and Washington Post, State Department employees stationed in China complained of having undergone anal screening for Covid “by mistake”, when in principle they are exempt from it. Asked at a press conference, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry denied this information. “China has never required American diplomats to submit to anal harvests,” assured Mr. Wang, more used to being questioned about the Sino-American rivalry in strategic or human rights matters.
A “less practical” method
The rectal swab screening method was used during a recent epidemic rebound limited to Beijing. It has also been imposed on international travelers placed in quarantine upon arrival in China. A diplomat from a third country said he refused to submit to it after being placed in quarantine at home on his return to the country. The officials concerned did not insist, he said.
The usual methods of screening should remain more commonly used, the anal test being “less practical”, according to Chinese officials quoted in the press.