Authorities in China have been forced to refute the authenticity of a viral video that claimed to show recipients of the nation’s controversial coronavirus anal swab “walking like penguins”.
Chinese health authorities made global headlines last week after it emerged it had begun testing people via the rectum, stating it was more accurate than nasal and throat swabs.
The move prompted a wave of reactions on Chinese social media, with many alarmed users on Twitter-like site Weibo suggesting it was “embarrassing” and “shameful”.
However some defended its introduction if it meant protecting society.
Days after news of the anal testing emerged, a video claiming to be of people waddling inside a Shijiazhuang hospital began to spread on Chinese social media, purportedly showing people who had received the test.
The video, which has been viewed more than 300 million times on Weibo, prompted The Shijiazhuang Internet Report Center to announce the video was fake and people in the city had not received any anal tests, The Global Times reported.
The centre also warned social media users against spreading false information, which could lead to legal action.
Shijiazhuang is one of several cities to have been locked down in recent weeks following a spike in locally acquired cases.
It is unclear where the original footage originated.
The testing has been rolled out in multiple cities including Beijing, where more than 1000 teachers and students were tested.
It has also widely been used in hotel quarantine and involves inserting a cotton swab between one and two inches into the rectum before gently rotating the swab several times. It takes roughly 10 seconds.
Some recipients say it was performed by healthcare workers.
"Applying extra anal swabs can improve the detection rate of infection and reduce missed diagnosis," Li Tongzeng, associate director of respiratory and infectious diseases at Beijing's You'an Hospital, told state broadcaster CCTV.
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