Mass disinfections to combat coronavirus pose another health hazard

A drone dispersed clouds of disinfectant within the sky above Indonesia’s second-largest metropolis Surabaya on Tuesday, a response to the coronavirus pandemic which is catching on around the globe regardless of warnings from health consultants.

Mass disinfections, usually by staff in protecting gear resembling characters from the comedy movie Ghostbusters, have grow to be a typical sight — from Turkey’s Grand Bazaar to bridges in Mexico and migrant staff in India.

But the visually-impressive measures taken to include the fast-spreading virus which has killed over 37,000 folks globally, have been criticised by illness specialists as a health hazard in addition to a waste of time and assets.

“It’s a ridiculous image seen in many countries,” mentioned Dale Fisher, an infectious ailments skilled in Singapore who chairs the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network coordinated by the World Health Organization.

“I don’t believe it adds anything to the response and could be toxic on people. The virus does not survive for long in the environment and people do not generally touch the ground.”

A spokesman for Surabaya’s main mentioned using drones for disinfection was needed in areas with confirmed instances as a result of the virus “can be anywhere”.

Febriadhitya Prajatara in contrast the benzalkonium chloride disinfectant, which might trigger pores and skin irritations in excessive concentrations, to “soap” and mentioned it could assist “weaken the virus so it won’t enter our body”.

Coronavirus is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads by droplets from the nostril or mouth by way of coughing or sneezing.

People can even grow to be contaminated by contacting one thing contaminated earlier than touching their very own nostril, mouth or eyes.

Paul Tambyah of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection mentioned handwashing and focused cleansing of commonly-touched surfaces like elevator buttons supplied higher safety than mass disinfecting.

“It (spraying) is probably a cheap and visible way of doing it, but careful attention to personal and environmental hygiene is probably more effective,” mentioned Tambyah.

Indian health staff brought on outrage on Monday after they used hose pipes to douse migrant staff within the northern state of Utter Pradesh, amid fears the motion of individuals from cities to the countryside risked spreading the virus.


In Malaysia, beneath nationwide lockdown due to the virus, authorities have gone on a disinfection spree in areas with excessive case numbers to cut back the danger of additional transmission.

But pictures of plumes of disinfectant spray fired from vans into the air or from spray weapons on to roads have riled health consultants.

“Disinfecting roads is clearly not going to be impactful,” mentioned Christopher Lee, a former deputy director common in Malaysia’s health ministry and an infectious illness specialist. “Waste of resources and man hours.”

Malaysia’s director-general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah mentioned on Tuesday the federal government could be issuing tips to native authorities to make certain disinfection operations are carried out correctly.

Back in Indonesia, phone box-shaped disinfection chambers are being arrange throughout the capital Jakarta, providing passers-by a fast blast to rid their garments and pores and skin of potential germs.

“I think it’s good…I feel sanitized after touching a lot of things from the bus…I feel well-protected,” mentioned Jakarta resident Fany Anisa after exiting one of many chambers exterior a bus cease in central Jakarta.

The non-public initiative being rolled out with the help of native authorities has been criticised by one skilled who’s advising the federal government’s virus-fighting taskforce.

“It is not good for skin, mouth and eyes, it will cause irritation,” mentioned Wiku Adisasmito, a public health professor on the University of Indonesia.

Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious illness skilled at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital, mentioned mass disinfections are eye-catching and should enhance morale however usually are not efficient virus controls.

“It would have better effect using a water cannon to disperse people and make them go home,” he mentioned. has loads of helpful assets that may provide help to higher perceive the coronavirus pandemic and defend your self. Read our comprehensive guide (with info on how the virus spreads, precautions and signs), watch an expert debunk myths, try our data analysis of cases in India, and entry our dedicated coronavirus page. Get the newest updates on our live blog.

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