People used to complain about having a cotton swab shoved up their nose to test for coronavirus infection. China is making that procedure seem like the good old days.

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In a move that has outraged and shocked foreign travelers and governments, China is requiring some international passengers to submit to an anal swab test as part of its coronavirus containment measures.

Passengers who happen to have been on a flight with five or more passengers who test positive for COVID-19 or who have visited or are from “high-risk” countries will be required to hike skirts or drop trousers and bend over to have a swab sample taken from you know where.

It is not clear how prevalent the practice is, but travelers arriving at Beijing and Shanghai airports have been subjected to it. Apparently, anal swabs are not optional. The Chinese government has ways of ensuring compliance.


Some Chinese doctors say the tests are performed to catch silent carriers of the virus โ€” those who may not show symptoms or who develop mild symptoms but recover quickly โ€” because the SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in feces easier than in the nose and throat.

Final Thoughts

I certainly hope that this practice doesn’t become widespread. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “Forbidden City.”


If I had plans to travel to or through China, this development would force me to change those plans. You?