Japan wants to put an end to the COVID-19 anal swab tests its citizens are reportedly being subjected to when they enter China.
According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, those who underwent the procedure complained of experiencing “psychological distress,” BBC reported.
“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused great psychological pain,” Kato said.
He noted that those quarantined or entering China receive such tests but revealed the actual number of Japanese citizens who have received them is unknown.
Kato pointed out that the use of the anal tests “has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world.”
The Japanese government has already made a formal request to stop the tests through the embassy in Beijing but China has yet to respond to it. China began implementing anal swabs tests for COVID-19 back in January this year, with local experts claiming they can “increase the detection rate of infected people.”
The tests, which involve a cotton swab 3-5 centimeters (1.2-2.0 inches) being inserted into the anus and gently rotating it, had been “controversial among experts,” China’s state-owned media reported.
Experts still prefer the existing tests in the upper respiratory tracts as they deem anal swabs were far less efficient.
It was earlier reported that U.S. diplomats have made similar complaints but China claimed it was unaware of anal swab tests, according to CNN.
“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to [China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs] when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a state department spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We have received assurances from [the ministry] that this was in error and that diplomatic personnel are exempt from this testing requirement. We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them (as was done in the past).”
“China has never required US diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said last week.
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