The Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Public Health are investing millions in caravans of trucks and workers that spray disinfectant in city streets during nighttime hours. The spraying has taken place during the daytime but mostly at night during the curfew when they have pretty much the streets to themselves. The spraying has been taking place from upscale to low income barrios, especially after curfew in cities nationwide. The units are noisy and people can quickly know when the caravans pass through each barrio.
Now the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is little to gain from the spraying disinfectants on streets and outsides of homes and alerts that these instead can be harmful to people.
In a document on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as part of the response to the virus, the WHO says spraying can be ineffective. “Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is… not recommended to kill the Covid-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris,” explains the WHO.
“Even in the absence of organic matter, chemical spraying is unlikely to adequately cover all surfaces for the duration of the required contact time needed to inactivate pathogens.” The WHO said that streets and pavements are not considered as “reservoirs of infection” of Covid-19, adding that spraying disinfectants, even outside, can be “dangerous for human health”.
The document also stresses that spraying individuals with disinfectants is “not recommended under any circumstances”. “This could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus through droplets or contact,” said the document. The use of disinfectant tunnels is also discouraged. These can damage clothing and affect people who are susceptible or allergic to the chemicals used to disinfect.
The international organization has said that if disinfectants are to be applied, it should be using a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant.
18 May 2020