Japan tells China to STOP carrying out anal swabs for Covid that cause 'psychological pain'

JAPAN has asked China to stop carrying out anal swabs for Covid-19 on its citizens when they enter the country as they cause "psychological pain".

Chinese authorities started using anal swabs to test for the virus in January, with some experts claiming they are more effective than the traditional nose and throat tests.

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But the Japanese government is calling on China to stop using the procedure on its citizens as some complained it caused them "psychological distress".

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference: "Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain."

It was not known how many Japanese citizens received such tests, he added.

Kato said China had not so far responded to the request made by the Japanese government through the embassy in Beijing.

Anal swabs are used on some people quarantined or entering China, but Kato noted their use "has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world".

Some local experts have claimed anal swabs are more accurate at detecting Covid-19 than standard nose and throat swabs.

The procedure involves inserting a cotton swab about three to five centimetres (1.2-2.0 inches) into the anus and gently rotating it.

Similarly to the nasal method, the swab is then removed before being placed inside a sample container.

The whole procedure is said to take about 10 seconds, according to China's National Health Commission.

In January, after an outbreak among teachers, staff and students at a primary school in Beijing, a city official said that over 1,000 swabs were taken.

Infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja told Health she worries "such messages may discourage people from getting tested".

She said: "For most purposes, including screening asymptomatic individuals, nasal or saliva samples are sufficient."

Last week, China allegedly ordered US diplomats to undergo anal swab tests for Covid sparking fury with the State Department.

Beijing has denied the claims but Washington has blasted the tests as "undignified" .

It is alleged the diplomats were forced to undergo the swabs due to an administrative error, Vice reports.

A spokesperson said: "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."

"We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past."

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