China is increasingly using rectal COVID-19 screening to test at-risk subjects and travelers arriving from abroad, a more reliable method but criticized by Internet users.
• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic
The country has largely contained the epidemic since the spring of 2020 thanks to strict restrictions: only two deaths have been recorded since May. But small localized foci have erupted in recent weeks.
They pushed the health authorities to carry out massive and rapid PCR screening of tens of thousands of inhabitants. Samples are usually taken by smear in the nose or throat.
However, according to public television CCTV, 2021 has already turned into annus horribilis for residents of several districts of Beijing where patients have recently been discovered: they have all been subjected to a rectal swab.
The measure is also imposed on people in mandatory quarantine in hotels, especially travelers from abroad.
Rectal screening “helps to increase the detection rate of infected people” because the coronavirus stays in the anus longer than in the airways, doctor Li Tongzeng, of You’an Hospital, told CCTV. Beijing.
Reactions of dread and derision
On the internet, reactions oscillate Wednesday between fear and derision.
“Relieved to have already returned to China!” Writes a user of the Weibo social network.
“It’s not too painful but certainly super humiliating,” said another.
Some who have had to have a rectal swab have turned to humor.
“I had two anal screenings. In the process, a sample was also taken from my throat. Each time, I was afraid that the nurse would forget to change the swab in between, ”jokes a Weibo user.
CCTV said Sunday that rectal tests were not intended to be generalized because they are “not practical enough”.
With a COVID-19 epidemic still raging in many parts of the world, China, which has already severely limited international arrivals since March 2020, has tightened restrictions in recent months.
All people wishing to travel to the country must present two negative COVID tests (PCR and serological) before boarding and carry out on their arrival and at their expense a quarantine of at least 14 days in a hotel – or often more.