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In China, authorities have begun carrying out COVID-19 anal swab exams, which they claim would help identify cases in people at high risk.

Bloomberg notes that CCTV, the state-run station, said that anal swabs are being used for high-risk cases for now because they can identify the virus more effectively than a throat swab. Also, it is thought that these assessments do not seem to have a systematic approach, and there is word that certain individuals have been subjected to surprise tests. Passengers arriving in Beijing, people staying in quarantine centers, and, as per local media, over 1,000 school students and teachers who may have been exposed to the virus are among those reportedly undergoing surprise checks.

The exams include the injection of a cotton-tip swab into the rectum by a medical professional or qualified volunteer. At Beijing You An Hospital, Li Tongzeng, deputy director of Respiratory and Infectious Diseases, told state media that studies show that the virus lives longer in the anus or feces than in the respiratory tract; this indicates that the test is allegedly more successful in detecting individuals with the virus who may have only mild symptoms to none at all.

Tongzeng said, “If we add anal swab testing, it can raise our rate of identifying infected patients.” He added, “But, of course, considering that collecting anal swabs is not as convenient as throat swabs, at the moment only key groups such as those in quarantine receive both.”

With the Lunar New Year season being only a few weeks away, and, despite tightening restrictions, authorities have turned to the anal swabbing process in fear that even a single case could cause a dangerous outbreak. It is estimated that three billion or so trips are made during the holiday season in a typical year.




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‘Impossible to trace.’ Tech savvy dad may be holding daughter captive in WA, cops say

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A father accused of kidnapping his teenage daughter 17 months ago could be holding her captive in Washington, but his technology skills are making it hard for authorities to find him, officials say.

Authorities say John Oliver Westbrook kidnapped his daughter, Daphne Westbrook, 17, in October 2019 from Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to a news release posted on Facebook by the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office in Tennessee.

Investigators say Westbrook is holding Daphne against her will and they’re struggling to locate them because he is “an IT expert specializing in security, block chain technology and bitcoin.”

Brooke WolfordFri, March 5, 2021, 5:41 AM