The Times magazine reveals that China is going to generalize rectal screening in its airports. A practice considered degrading by many countries.
This is an issue that could become a subject of tension between China and other countries of the world. At the end of February, two American diplomats had complained about having undergone anal screening for Covid-19. This information was then denied by Beijing.
But, according to information from the British daily The Times, this testing method could now become mandatory for all foreign travelers arriving in the country.
Indeed, some doctors believe that the use of an anal swab is a more reliable method than the other solutions used to detect Covid-19. The infection would remain visible longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract. Rectal screening would reduce the false negative rate.
As detailed by Reuters, these tests are already mandatory in airports in several cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, but also in the port of Qingdao. Test platforms will be set up. But the solution chosen by China to contain the epidemic is controversial because it is considered humiliating.
The Japanese authorities protest
On Tuesday, March 2, Tokyo asked China not to test Japanese citizens for Covid-19 by anal swabbing. The authorities deplored the "psychological suffering" caused by the procedure. An official request was transmitted to China via the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
The methods of Chinese sampling are "based on science" and "in accordance with the evolution of the epidemiological situation and the laws and rules in force", affirmed a spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, questioned on the question, by the Agence France-Presse.
However, this type of test is not only reserved for foreigners. Already in January, the Chinese authorities of several cities had recourse to it in the face of an outbreak of infectious cases.
In addition, Galicia, Spain, also uses this method in its hospitals. However, they are specifically reserved for critically intubated patients for whom it is not possible to perform a nasal test.
According to Johns-Hopkins University data, China has had just over 100,000 cases since the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic and fewer than 5,000 deaths. However, the official figures remain questionable.