Disinfection tunnels don’t kill virus, cause harm, govt tells SC
Source: Twitter @MayorofS
New Delhi: The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that spraying of disinfectants on humans is not recommended under any circumstances, as spraying any chemical disinfectant is physically and psychologically harmful.
In an affidavit, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed the Apex Court that the Directorate General of Health Services held a meeting of experts in June on the use of disinfectant tunnels, use of various chemicals and spraying of disinfectants along with the efficacy of such use of spraying/fogging.
An experts committee in April had said that chemicals are harmful to the human skin and the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, if inhaled. “External spraying of any chemical disinfectant does not kill the virus that has already entered the body of a person, who has earlier been exposed to the virus”, said the committee.
The committee agreed with suggestions made by another committee in April that “spraying of the individuals with disinfectants (tunnels, chambers, cabinets, etc.) is not recommended” in both healthcare and non-healthcare settings. “It is also observed that in indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaces by spraying/fogging is not recommended for Covid-19 as the disinfectants may not be removing organic material and may miss surfaces shielded by objects, folded fabrics or surfaces with intricate designs”, said the affidavit.
The committee also observed that spraying of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill the Covid-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces. “It is submitted in particular that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has not written any letter or issued any advisory on the use of ultra violet lights for disinfection of humans for Covid-19 management”, said the affidavit.
The response from the Centre came on a plea filed by a law student Gursimran Singh Narula, seeking an immediate ban on the usage, installation, production, advertisement of disinfection tunnels involving spraying or fumigation of chemical disinfectants to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The plea argued that in the guise of preventing Covid-19 many sanitization and disinfection devices have emerged which wrongfully claim to be effective in preventing the spread of this virus. “These include disinfection tunnels involving spraying and fumigation of disinfectants and disinfection tunnels exposing human beings to ultra violet rays with a belief of disinfecting them. The World Health Organization (WHO) and many other scientific authorities across the world have warned about their ineffectiveness and dangerous after effects”, said the plea.