CHINA has slammed as false a video claiming to show people waddling like penguins after getting a Covid test with an anal swab.
The footage is accompanied by laughter soundtrack and claims to show people in Shijiazhuang, the capital of northern Hebei province walking stiff-legged.
Video claims to show this mad waddling after a testCredit: Weibo
These two boys also feature in the video Credit: Weibo
China has begun using anal swabs to test those it considers at high risk of contracting Covid.
But social media users and travellers have been squirming over the invasive procedure which doctors say can be more effective in detecting the virus.
That’s led to an outburst of memes including the clip showing people waddling.
The footage been viewed millions of times on various Chinese social media platforms but has fallen foul of internet censors.
The state-run Global Times newspaper has said the Shijiazhuang Internet Report Center claims the viral video was edited and doctored.
Pictures later released had the words “hearsay” stamped on them by the center.
Local authorities have said say specimens collected in the area were oral or nasal swabs.
Anal swab test causes no obvious discomfort but the video and other similar ones have been causing alarm across China, says the paper.
The footage has been slammed as fake by the local authorities Credit: Weibo
Small, localized Covid outbreaks in recent weeks have seen multiple cities in northern China sealed off from the rest of the country.
That’s prompted mass testing campaigns, which up until now have mostly been conducted using throat and nose swabs.
But the anal swabs method “can increase the detection rate of infected people” as traces of the virus linger longer in the anus than in the respiratory tract, Li Tongzeng, a senior doctor from Beijing’s You’an Hospital, told CCTV.
Users of China’s popular Twitter-like Weibo social media platform reacted to the method with a mix of amusement and horror.
“So lucky I returned to China earlier,” one user wrote.
Chinese social media has been filled with dark humour about the testsCredit: Weibo
“Low harm, but extreme humiliation,” another said, using a laughing emoticon.
Others who had undergone the procedure chimed in with dark humour.
“I’ve done two anal swabs, every time I did one I had to do a throat swab afterwards – I was so scared the nurse would forget to use a new swab,” one Weibo user joked.
State TV said on Sunday anal swabs would not be used as widely as other methods, as the technique was “not convenient.”
As cases rise around the world, China has imposed stricter requirements on international arrivals in an effort to keep domestic transmission close to zero.
All arrivals into the country must have multiple negative test results and quarantine for at least 14 days in a designated hotel on arrival.
Many cities and regions have also imposed additional requirements to isolate at home.