The Buzz | China’s zero-tolerance Covid approach now includes anal swabs

China is ramping up efforts to neutralize the coronavirus as new outbreaks test its already stringent pandemic strategy, with another weapon added to an arsenal of border curbs, mass testing and hard lockdowns: anal swabs.
While there is no nationwide policy on use of the technique, some residents in China’s northern regions – where the flare-up now amounts to more than 1,700 cases – have been subjected to the anal swabs with little warning. It involves the insertion of a saline-soaked cotton swab about two-to-three centimeters into the anus, with the sample then tested for active traces of the virus.
More than 1,000 schoolchildren and teachers in Beijing were given anal, throat and nose swabs last week, along with a separate antibody test, after one asymptomatic virus case was detected on campus, according to local officials.
Some people arriving into Beijing are being asked to undertake anal swabs themselves.
The use of the new detection technique is based on research that traces of the virus found in the anus can last longer than in the respiratory tract, experts say.

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