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Experts in quandary over wide spraying of disinfectants in Kerala

While some oppose the idea of mass disinfection, others support the govt’s efforts

Published: 06th July 2020 03:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th July 2020 03:25 AM   |  A+A-

Fire and Rescue Services officer spraying disinfectant inside the KSRTC bus station in Kozhikode on Sunday

Fire and Rescue Services officer spraying disinfectant inside the KSRTC bus station in Kozhikode on Sunday | MANU R MAVELIL

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Does wide-area spraying of disinfectants and fumigation help keep coronavirus at bay? As the Covid-19 situation in the state has taken a turn for the worse, experts are divided on the efficacy of mass disinfection being carried out by local bodies. While some are opposed to the idea of spraying streets with disinfectants, on the grounds that it is a futile exercise, there are others supportive of the government’s efforts.

“The sight of workers in protective gear using highpressure sprays might look impressive. But in actual terms, it is a health hazard and complete waste of time and money. It doesn’t help contain the spread of infection at all,” said an epidemiologist at a Government Medical College Hospital while pointing out that transmission occurs through airborne droplets and aerosols from an infected person.

Anup R Warrier, consultant, Aster DM Healthcare, said, “It is a reflection of poor understanding of disease transmission dynamics, besides negating the basic principles of infection prevention. Practising social distancing, washing hands frequently and wearing face masks are the key to insulate oneself against Covid.” But Abraham Varghese, president, IMA Kerala chapter, endorsed wide-area spraying and fumigation since these are also part of the measures to stem the virus spread.

“The thing with Covid is that there is no certainty as to what will work. Similar practices are followed world over. In times of a public health emergency, governments will resort to all possible measures for the general good,” said Abraham. According to the experts, sanitising contaminated surfaces using liquid disinfectants should get priority over wide-area spraying to check Covid transmission.

In the case of using the disinfectant solution, mainly sodium hypochlorite, the fire and rescue services department had made a representation to the government seeking financial assistance as it pointed out that the spraying had damaged many fire engines. The World Health Organisation had warned that spraying the streets with disinfectant does not eliminate coronavirus and even poses a health risk.



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