March 2020 Edition
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Spraying disinfectants don’t kill corona: WHO

May 21, 2020 | 14:07 IST | Editorial |

Spraying disinfectant on the streets in order to prevent coronavirus, a practice which is being followed in many countries doesn’t kill the virus and it can be harmful to the people says WHO.

“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 in a statement.

“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 statement also stresses that spraying individuals with disinfectants are “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 statement.

Spraying chlorine or other toxic chemicals on people can cause eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm and gastrointestinal effects, it adds.

The organisation is also warning against the systematic spraying and fumigating of disinfectants on to surfaces in indoor spaces, citing a study that has shown it to be ineffective outside direct spraying areas.

“If disinfectants are to be applied, this should be done with a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant,” it says.