China has started taking anal samples from some residents of some neighborhoods in Beijing.
Anthony Kwan / Getty Images
As the Chinese authorities struggle to contain the rise in infections by COVID-19 Ahead of the Lunar New Year celebrations, Beijing has reported that anal tests provide greater precision in detecting the virus.
The state television channel CCTV reported that the tests are reserved for those cases considered high riskHowever, this type of test could be carried out surprisingly for some people, according to a report from the Bloomberg agency. The tests include the passengers arriving in Beijing, residents of quarantine centers and a group of more than 1,000 students and teachers who could be exposed to the virus.
A test that generates controversy
Anal tests may be more accurate than those done on the nose or throatLi Tongzeng, deputy director of the department of respiratory and infectious diseases at You An Hospital in Beijing, said in an interview with the official television network.
The test involves inserting a cotton-tipped swab into the patient’s anus, which is then tested for the virus. Li stated that studies show that the virus lasts longer in the anus or stool of patients than in the respiratory tract, further an anal test might be better to identify the disease in mild or asymptomatic cases, according to the country’s authorities.
Not everyone agrees with the use of anal swabs to detect respiratory disease. Yang zhanqiu, a pathology expert from Wuhan University, told the Global Times that nose and throat swabs are the most effective tests for COVID-19. “There have been cases in which the coronavirus has tested positive in the stool of a patient, but no evidence has suggested it was transmitted through the digestive systemYang said.
China has been willing to take extreme measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 at its borders by closing entire cities or even provinces to contain outbreaks and quarantining newly arrived travelers for long periods of time. Yahoo! News reported that videos of forced and “humiliating” tests at airports have been posted on social media.
In the social network Weibo some patients claim to have suffered humiliation during the test. According to a survey by the social network 80 percent of people do not agree with the method.
Today: Shanghai International Airport- two airport cargo employees test positive for Covid 19. Entire airport shuts down- no one can leave- 100,000 travelers are isolated and quarantined, waiting to be tested. (video from a friend who is there) pic.twitter.com/sYMeTSPLq7
– Cari Kelemen (@KelemenCari) November 22, 2020
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For the Chinese authorities, the approach seems to be successful since the most populous country in the world has managed to avoid a high number of cases and deaths compared to the figures presented by other countries. In Wuhan, where the virus was first detected a year ago, it has largely returned to normal.
Cases have started to rise again and authorities are making a desperate attempt to contain the outbreaks and vaccinate at least 50 million people before the next one. Lunar new year, in which millions of people are expected to start traveling across the country.
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