- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2021

The State Department said Thursday that U.S. diplomats in China were given anal COVID-19 tests “in error.”

“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to [China‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs] when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a state department spokesperson said in a statement, CNN reported Thursday afternoon.

“We have received assurances from [the ministry] that this was in error and that diplomatic personnel are exempt from this testing requirement. We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them (as was done in the past),” the statement added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian pushed back against the claim during a press briefing, saying, “China has never asked U.S. diplomats in China to go through anal swab tests.” 

A U.S. diplomatic source told CNN that U.S. officials in China have been “negotiating with the Chinese for a while” to avoid their staff being subjected to anal testing.

A State Department spokesperson told Vice News, which first broke the story, that it is committed to preserving the “dignity” of American diplomats and their families.

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