Anal Swab COVID Tests Are a Real Thing, and Tourists Aren't Happy

Thursday March 4, 2021

We all laughed when Saturday Night Live's Beck Bennett as vice president Mike Pence dropped his pants to receive the COVID vaccine, but recent reports from Forbes have emerged that real-life anal COVID testing is no joke.

According to Forbes, Li Tongzeng, deputy director of the respiratory and infectious diseases department at Beijing You An Hospital, said in an interview with state media that anal swabs "anal swab tests could be more accurate than nose or throat tests."

Initially reserved for high-risk cases, The Times UK reports that coronavirus anal swab testing is "mandatory for almost all international arrivals."

Foreign countries have begun logging formal complaints, including the U.S. and Japan.

"Our embassy has requested Japanese citizens be excluded from anal PCR tests, as some Japanese expatriates ... expressed the opinion that the tests produce significant psychological distress," Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told The Japan Times. "At this point, we have not received a response that they will change this. ... We will continue pressing the issue."

Some U.S. personnel have reported being subjected to anal tests. The Associated Press reported that a U.S. State Department spokesperson said Washington was "committed to guaranteeing the safety and security of American diplomats and their families while preserving their dignity, consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as other relevant diplomatic law provisions."

South Korea's solution? Provide a stool sample instead.