Disinfecting Tunnel or Booth is not effective in stopping COVID-19 transmission

Recently we have been getting a lot of news about groups and individuals developing or using disinfecting tunnel or booth to disinfect individuals before allowing them to enter buildings or permisses.

Dr Paul Soo the Programme Management and Technical Officer (NPO-C), the World Health Organization Representative Office for Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore in his letter to the Ministry of Health on the 8 April 2020 has state that the spraying of individuals or groups with chemical disinfectants or detergents does not limit the spread of COVID-19. The act is also physically and psychologically harmful to the individual.

The reasons that spraying the external part of the body does not kill the
virus inside the body and may worsen the clinical condition of the individual.
In particular, spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin, bronchospasm due to inhalation and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting.

He also mentioned that there is currently no evidence that spraying surfaces or large scale misting of areas, indoor or outdoor with disinfecting agents is effective in the control of COVID-19. Further, the spraying of chemicals in the air has a health and safety concern due to the risk of skin irritation or inhalation of chemicals and the subsequent development of respiratory side effects. There is also the risk that spraying can further disperse contaminants on a surface due to the direct force of the application of a spray. He advises the public and authorities to read the WHO myth-buster page before engaging in any COVID-19 control activities.

Dr Paul Soo is a Master of Public Health and Master of Public Health (Occupational Health) Alumnus from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.

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