JUST IN: Chinese officials forced American diplomats to undergo an anal swab for COVID-19 testing… Beijing cliams tests were conducted “in error,” according to the State Department.
Lat week, U.S. officials said some American personnel in China complained that they were being subjected to anal swab tests for the Chinese Coronavirus by communist Chinese authorities.
A State spokesperson responded to a request for comment from The Hill by saying that the department “never agreed” to such tests and had protested directly to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs following complaints from staff.
“The State Department never agreed to this method of testing and protested directly to the MFA [Ministry for Foreign Affairs] when we learned that some U.S. Mission personnel were subjected to it,” the spokesperson said.
“We have received assurances from MFA that this testing was conducted in error and that diplomatic personnel are exempt from this requirement. Our guidance to diplomatic personnel remains the same as it has always been: to decline this test if it is asked of them.”
State Department says US diplomatic personnel in China were subjected to COVID-19 anal swabs “in error”https://t.co/QmjKrOGggK
— Jesse Byrnes (@jessebyrnes) February 25, 2021
The spokesperson added that, “The Department is committed to guaranteeing the safety and security of American diplomats and their families while preserving their dignity, consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as other relevant diplomatic law provisions.”
But a spokesperson for the MFA, in a briefing with reporters earlier on Thursday, denied the tests ever took place.
“I checked this with my colleagues. As far as I know, China has never asked U.S. diplomats stationed in China to do anal swab tests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in response to a question in a briefing with reporters.
Chinese authorities began popularizing the anal swab tests to detect coronavirus beginning last month as part of efforts to identify carriers of the disease that may test negative from less invasive throat and nasal swabs.
Yet it has reportedly received significant pushback over the highly invasive nature of the test and inconvenience.