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       US officials ask China not to subject staff to Covid-19 anal swab tests
       By David Culver, CNNUpdated: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 19:12:04 GMTSource: CNN
       US officials in China have asked local authorities to refrain from
       subjecting US staff in the country to Covid-19 anal swabs, according to
       a US diplomat based in China.
       On Thursday, China responded to a Vice News report which claimed that
       US diplomats in the country were complaining after having been
       administered the swab tests.
       "The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and
       protested directly to [China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs] when
       we learned that some staff were subject to it," a state department
       spokesperson told CNN in a statement on Thursday.
       "We have received assurances from [the ministry] that this was in
       error and that diplomatic personnel are exempt from this testing
       requirement. We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is
       asked of them (as was done in the past)," the statement added.
       China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was unaware of anal
       swab tests being administered.
       "As far as I know, and I have also checked with my colleagues,
       China has never asked US diplomats in China to take anal swab
       tests," ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at a
       daily briefing on Thursday.
       The US diplomatic source told CNN that US representatives in China have
       been "negotiating with the Chinese for a while" to avoid
       their staff being subjected to such tests.
       Chinese state media have been reporting in the last few weeks that anal
       swab tests were being used in some cases. Some doctors and studies in
       China consider them more reliable than nasal or throat swab tests.
       "Some asymptomatic patients or those with minor symptoms recover
       fast [from Covid-19], and it's possible that throat tests
       won't be effective for these people in three to five days,"
       Li Tongzeng, an infectious disease doctor in China, told CNN.
       "Researchers have shown that for some infected people, the
       duration time of positive nucleic results lasted longer on their
       excrement and anal swab test [samples] than those on the upper
       respiratory tract. Therefore, adding anal swab tests can improve the
       positive detection rate of the infected," he said.
       It is unclear whether anal swabs are more efficient at detecting
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