A U.S. State Department spokesperson said that the anal swab tests given to American diplomats to test for COVID-19 was given “in error,” according to VICE.
“The State Department never agreed to this kind of testing and protested directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when we learned that some staff were subject to it,” a State Department spokesperson told VICE World News Wednesday.
The spokesperson assured that the test was given “in error” and that diplomatic personnel were exempt from the test, which was mandatory for incoming travelers to some parts of China.
“We have instructed staff to decline this test if it is asked of them, as was done in the past,” the spokesperson continued.
Last month, authorities in Beijing administered anal swabs for some people who came in contact with COVID-19.
After Washington diplomats complained that the practice was undignified, the Chinese government promised to stop using them.
The State Department spokesperson said it is committed to preserving the “dignity” of American diplomats and their families, consistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other diplomatic law provisions.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian denied the claims on Thursday, telling a press conference that “China has never required US diplomatic staff stationed in China to conduct anal swab tests.”