The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare today issued an advisory against the spraying of disinfectant on people for COVID-19 management. The advisory says:
Spraying of individuals or groups is NOT recommended under any circumstances. Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants is physically and psychologically harmful.
Even if a person is potentially exposed to the COVID-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus that has entered your body. Also, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are effective even in disinfecting the outer clothing/body in an effective manner
Spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of mucous membranes to the nose, throat, respiratory tract and may also cause bronchospasm
Additionally, the use of such measures may in fact lead to a false sense of disinfection & safety and actually hamper public observance to hand washing and social distancing measures.
Advisory has come in view of the many queries regarding the efficacy (if any) of use disinfectants such as Sodium hypochlorite spray used over the individuals to disinfect them.
“Chemical disinfectants are recommended for cleaning and disinfection only of frequently touched areas/surfaces by those who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. Precautionary measures are to be adopted while using disinfectants for cleaning – like wearing gloves during disinfection”, says the advisory.
In March, Uttar Pradesh government came under sharp attack from opposition parties after a video emerged on social media where migrant workers coming to Bareilly town were made to sit on the road and sprayed with disinfectants.