Beijing | China denied Thursday that it had inflicted an anal screening for COVID-19 on American diplomats, in the hope of defusing an emerging controversy between the two powers.
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The Asian giant, which 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 have complained of being “by mistake” tested anal for COVID, while they are in principle exempt.
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 on the Sino-American rivalry in strategic or human rights matters.
The rectal swab screening method was used during a recent limited epidemic rebound in Beijing. It has also been imposed on international travelers placed in quarantine upon arrival in China.
A diplomat from a third country told AFP that 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 screening methods should remain more commonly used, the anal test being “less practical”, according to Chinese officials quoted in the press.