Covid-19 anal swab tests won't leave you ‘walking like penguins’, says China

'Fake' viral video did the rounds on social media

02 February 2021 - 12:00
Regions in China have implemented anal swab tests for suspected Covid-19 infections.
Regions in China have implemented anal swab tests for suspected Covid-19 infections.
Image: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

A week after China made global headlines for introducing anal swab testing for Covid-19, its government has rubbished claims the method caused people to “walk like penguins”.

According to Reuters, some cities were using samples taken from the anus to detect potential Covid-19 infections, claiming it was more effective than throat swab testing and could be useful to minimise the risk of relapse after recovery.

Al Jazeera said the anal swabs require inserting a cotton swab 3cm to 5cm into the anus and gently rotating it.

The testing has sparked reactions around the world and led to a video of people walking awkwardly going viral on social media. It was reportedly viewed by millions before it was taken down, but was shared by Metro UK.

In it adults and children can be seen struggling to walk when they leave a hospital.

It was claimed the footage was filmed last week in Shijiazhuang, capital of the Hebei province in northern China, after people had been tested.

Pro-Beijing publication Global Times reported authorities in the area had labelled the video “fake” and said it had been edited. 

It said healthy people weren’t being tested for the coronavirus using an anal swab and the method was not uncomfortable


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