Nasal swab unnecessary for inbound travelers
A standard throat swab is enough to detect COVID-19 during central quarantine among people traveling from abroad, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's top expert said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Nasal swabs will no longer be given to inbound travelers for nucleic acid testing, according to the nation's ninth edition of the COVID-19 control protocol.
Instead, they will be given throat swabs for the first three days and the fifth and seventh days of centralized quarantine and on the third day of in-home monitoring.
There is a very small chance the single throat swab could fail to detect COVID-19, though the detection rate of nasal swabs is a bit higher than the throat swab, said Dong Xiaoping, chief virology expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
"We've found no statistical difference between the two measures of sample collection among inbound travelers," Dong said.
He noted nasal swabs require higher technical skills and are unsuitable for people with nasal diseases or wounds.
The blood test for suspected imported COVID-19 infections has also been cancelled as part of the measures to simplify quarantine inspections for inbound travelers, said Kong Fanwei, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
According to the updated protocol, inbound travelers will now undergo seven days of central quarantine and three days of home monitoring, instead of 14 and seven days as previously mandated.