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World News

Tokyo asks China to stop anal swab tests for COVID-19 on Japanese citizens

A medical worker disinfects their colleague's gloves after a simulation for a walk-in style polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a makeshift facility in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo has requested Beijing to stop taking anal swab tests for COVID-19 on Japanese citizens as the procedure causes psychological pain, a government spokesman said on Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said the government has not received a response that Beijing would change the testing procedure, so Japan would continue to ask China to alter the way of testing.

“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychologial pain,” Kato told a news conference.

It was not known how many Japanese citizens received such tests for the coronavirus, he said.

Some Chinese cities are using samples taken from the anus to detect potential COVID-19 infections as China steps up screening to make sure no potential carrier of the new coronavirus is missed.

China’s foreign ministry denied last month that U.S. diplomats in the country had been required to take anal swab tests for COVID-19, following media reports that some had complained about the procedure.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Angus MacSwan

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