U.S. diplomats in China were subjected to anal swab tests for Covid-19, a Department of State spokesperson confirmed Thursday, adding that a protest had been lodged with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The United States had received assurances from China that the tests were done in error and that diplomatic personnel were exempt from this specific testing requirement, the spokesperson said.
The story was first reported by The Washington Post.
Some health experts say the anal swab tests are more accurate than nasal and mouth swabs to detect virus traces.
Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone for the first time since he took office, earlier this month.
The White House said in a statement at the time that Biden had raised "fundamental concerns" about Beijing's "coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.".
The statement also said the two leaders discussed countering the Covid-19 pandemic and the "shared challenges" of climate change and global health security. »