After news that many regions in China are performing anal COVID-19 tests for coronavirus, Japan has asked that Beijing stop using the method on Japanese citizens.
The anal swab test for coronavirus, which is performed by a medical worker, involves a cotton swab being inserted about 1.2 to 2 inches (3 to 5 centimeters) into a patient’s anus. The swab is then rotated many times to obtain a sample.
The process takes about ten seconds.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said on March 1 that the government hasn’t received updates from Beijing indicating they would stop the process on Japanese citizens, Reuters reported.
“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain,” Kato said at a news conference.
He also said that they will continue to ask China to exclude Japanese citizens from being subjected to anal swab tests, adding it “has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world.”
This comes after Washington complained about the procedure last month.
A State Department spokesperson told Vice: “The State 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 spokesperson also said that Washington was assured the tests were performed ‘in error,’ stating: “We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past.”
Some experts believe the anal swab test is more accurate than the throat or nasal method.
Li Tongzeng, a respiratory diseases doctor in Beijing You’an Hospital said that coronavirus survives longer in the anus or excrement than in the nasal passage or throat.
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