China Tells Citizens They Won’t Waddle ‘Like Penguins’ Following COVID-19 Anal Swab Tests After ‘Fake’ Video Goes Viral

Video "has likely been viewed millions of times on several Chinese social network platforms."
Gentoo penguins antarctica
David Merron Photography/Getty Images

Chinese authorities are telling citizens that they won’t walk “like penguins” after being tested for COVID-19 via anal swabs following a viral video showed Chinese people purportedly doing just that.

“The video in question purports to show Chinese citizens walking stiff-legged with their arms slightly open while leaving a hospital,” the Daily Mail reported on Monday. “It was allegedly filmed on January 28 in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Province in northern China.”

The clip has reportedly been viewed millions of times on Chinese social media platforms before it was taken down. The Shijiazhuang Internet Report Center said the video had been doctored to spread “rumor.” In an official post on Sunday, the Center cited the municipal health department and a doctor as proof that the video was fake.

The Global Times, Beijing’s propaganda outlet, yesterday published an English article headlined, “You won’t walk like penguin after anal swab coronavirus test.”

“Local authorities of Shijiazhuang in North China’s Hebei Province say a video purportedly showing people walking like penguins after having a coronavirus test using anal swabs, is not true,” said the article. “The video, which is accompanied by a laugh-track, purports to show people in Shijiazhuang walking stiff-legged after being tested using an anal swab, has likely been viewed millions of times on several Chinese social network platforms.”

“The Shijiazhuang Internet Report Center claims the viral video was edited and doctored and it verified with the municipal health department and the chief physician of Shijiazhuang No. 5 Hospital, who is a member of the municipal COVID-19 medical treatment expert group that healthy people aren’t test for the virus using an anal swab,” said the article.

The report came after another that passengers on a flight from Changchun to Beijing in China were ordered to disembark after officials said one came from an area deemed as high risk for COVID-19. They were then brought to a hotel “where health workers took nose and anal swabs, said a passenger who asked to be identified only by his last name, Wang,” The National Post reported.

“Some people arriving into Beijing are being asked to undertake anal swabs as well, with one traveler who came from Hong Kong a few weeks ago telling Bloomberg News she was told to do the swab herself while in mandatory hotel quarantine,” the Post wrote.

Health officials across China have begun using anal swabs to test its residents for COVID-19, “a method that experts say is more accurate and raises the chances of detecting the virus,” the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

“To collect test samples, the swab needs to be inserted about three to five centimeters (1.2 to 2 inches) into the rectum and rotated several times. After completing the motion twice, the swab is removed before being securely placed inside a sample container. The whole procedure is said to take about 10 seconds,” said the U.K. paper.

The Mail cited Li Tongzeng from Beijing’s You’an Hospital, who said on state broadcaster CCTV that traces of the coronavirus are detectable longer in the anus or in feces than samples taken from the throat and nose.

“We found that some asymptomatic patients tend to recover quickly. It’s possible that there will be no trace of the virus in their throat after three to five days,” Li said. “But the virus lasts longer from the samples taken from the patient’s digestive tract and excrement, compared to the ones taken from the respiratory tract.”

Related: Passengers On Flight To Beijing Reportedly Taken To Hotel For ‘Mandatory’ Anal Swabs

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