Man, and here I was thinking the nasal coronavirus test was awkward.
China’s Controversial Coronavirus Anal Test
China’s borders are largely closed to foreigners, and those arriving from abroad are subject to closely monitored quarantine. The quarantine is now not only up to 21 days, but also includes several tests during the entire quarantine.
It is reported that China recently began rigorously demanding anal swab tests for COVID-19 at certain airports, which has sparked complaints from tourists, diplomats and others. The Japanese government recently complained about this policy after some Japanese visitors said they were in “severe mental pain” as a result of the tests.
This way, a sterile cotton swab is inserted 3 to 5 centimeters (1.2 to 2 inches) into the anus before twisting and then removing it. As an alternative, and in response to objections from some governments, selected foreign visitors are now allowed to submit stool samples.
The anal coronavirus test is in addition to the nasal test – for example, during a 21-day quarantine it may be normal to do two nasal tests as well as two anal tests.
The alleged reason for these anal swabs is that traces of coronavirus are detectable in the anus for much longer than in the airways. The virus lives longer in the anus than it does in the airways, which means anal tests may give fewer false negative results.
The general strategy seems to be to do a breath test first and then an anal test in the following weeks. A positive test doesn’t necessarily mean someone can spread the virus – it’s believed that inactive traces that can’t replicate can also show a positive result.
While China’s borders are largely closed, those traveling from abroad will not only be placed in quarantine for up to 21 days, but will also be asked to perform multiple anal coronavirus tests. A cotton swab is inserted 3-5 centimeters into the anus, twisted and then removed.
I am curious how long this test guideline will last. We hope that coronavirus sniffers are the future of testing and not these anal swabs …