After UP, footage of travellers being ‘disinfected’ in Kerala surfaces; only ‘soap water’ sprayed, claims DGP

Footage of travellers being ‘disinfected’ on Kerala-Karnataka border surfaces online at a time when there was outrage over similar incident in Uttar Pradesh

Updated - March 31, 2020 10:00 am IST

Published - March 30, 2020 11:19 pm IST - KOCHI

Video said to be of Kerala fire officials spraying soap water on interstate travellers in Wayanad

Video said to be of Kerala fire officials spraying soap water on interstate travellers in Wayanad

With a video footage of Kerala officials spraying something on people travelling across the State border with Karnataka suddenly springing up on social media drawing comparisons with migrant workers being bathed in disinfectants in Uttar Pradesh , a top Kerala Fire and Rescue Services official on Monday clarified that it was a stray incident in which some local officials sprayed ‘soap solution’ on interstate travellers.

“It was just one incident [at Muthanga in Wayanad],” A. Hemachandran, Director General of Police, Fire and Rescue Services, told The Hindu .

“Over a week ago when fears of COVID-19 were building up, some forest and police personnel on the Kerala-Karnataka border sought the help of local Fire and Rescue Services personnel to disinfect the area. Since soap was believed to be a good defence against the virus, it was sprayed on some people. But then we immediately instructed all units to ask people to use soap or sanitiser themselves and practise good hygiene,” he said.

Disinfection drives

While the department conducted disinfection drives at several public places in the State over the past week, the solution used was bleaching powder-based.

Officials said that the department received its first consignment of 10 tonnes of sodium hypochlorite only on Saturday.

The chemical cannot be and should not be used on human beings, said an official.

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