Omicron: China reintroduces anal swab test ahead Winter Olympics

Records have it that no fewer than 27 people took the anal swab tests at an apartment building in Beijing.
China reintroduces anal swab test to detect Omicron ahead Winter Olympics

China reintroduces anal swab test to detect Omicron ahead Winter Olympics

FILE

China has reintroduced anal swab testing to curtail the spread of the Omicron variant, just two weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics begins.

Records have it that no fewer than 27 people took the anal swab tests at an apartment building in Beijing.

The Chinese newspaper, 'The Beijing News' states that a 26-year-old woman had contracted Omicron, the city's first recorded variant case.

The anal tests involves inserting a sterile cotton swab up to two inches (5cm) into the rectum and rotating it several times.

The swab is then removed before being analysed in a lab.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Beijing is currently in the midst of a strict lockdown after the city reported its first local Omicron infection on January 15, and 11 cases have been confirmed in the capital as of Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this week, China cancelled plans to sell tickets to the public for the Olympics and said only 'selected' spectators will be permitted to attend, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached its highest since March 2020.

Organizers today said the already scaled back Olympics torch relay will be cordoned off from the general public because of Covid measures.

The residential area of Haidian district where the confirmed Omicron case began has been sealed, with large barriers erected to stop people from going in and out, while tests - including anal swabs - are conducted.

The US, Japan, South Korea and Germany, all raised concerns about the tests, although China has denied claims that they are required for US diplomats.

Doctors have told state media that the tests can prevent infections because traces are detectable there for longer than in the respiratory tract.

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