China makes COVID-19 anal swab test mandatory for foreigners

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

4 Mar 2021

China has made anal COVID-19 swabs mandatory for all foreigners arriving in the country. Justification of the move by the Chinese government centres around the idea that the anal swab test provides a higher degree of accuracy than other screening methods for the virus.

Li Tongzeng, a respiratory diseases doctor in Beijing, told state television use of anal swabs was better at avoiding missing an infection, as virus traces in faecal samples or anal swabs remain detectable for a longer time than in those from the respiratory tract.

This news comes after both Japan and the US called China out for its use of the invasive procedure.

Both Japanese and US diplomats in China were subjected to anal swab tests for Covid-19, with a Department of State spokesperson confirming that a protest had been lodged with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A US State Department representative responded by saying it was “committed to guaranteeing the safety and security
of American diplomats and their families, while preserving their dignity”.

China claims the testing were done in error and that diplomatic personnel were exempt from this specific testing requirement.