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Spraying of disinfectants on humans not recommended, govt tells Supreme Court

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File  

Spraying of disinfectants on humans causes both physical and psychological harm, the Union Ministry of Health informed the Supreme Court on Monday.

Also read | Disinfectant tunnel could have harmful effects, says PGIMER

“Spraying of disinfectants on humans is not recommended under any circumstances”, it said.

The Ministry was responding to a petition filed by Gursimran Singh Narula questioning the efficacy of disinfection tunnels, spraying of disinfectants and fogging as means to prevent coronavirus infection.

The Ministry said it had “nowhere issued any advisory/guidelines/SOPs for usage, installation, production, advertisement of disinfection tunnels to spray/fumigate chemical or organic disinfectants in workspace, public spaces, etc”.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked why the Union government had not yet banned their (tunnels) use yet.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the court that appropriate orders would be issued soon.

Also read | COVID-19 disinfection tunnels are of no use, say experts

The government said spraying of chemical or organic disinfectants both indoors and outdoors hardly had any effect on the coronavirus.

Panel’s recommendation

The Ministry referred to its Expert Committee recommendation of June 9, which rejected disinfection tunnels and termed spraying of disinfectants dangerous for humans.

Spraying affected the skin and the respiratory tract.

A Joint Monitoring Group meeting held by top health organisations, including the World Health Organisation, the Directorate General of Health Services, the Indian Council of Medical Research, etc, on April 4 logically concluded that external spraying does not kill the virus that has already entered the body.

Also read | Coronavirus: TN Directorate of Public Health says ‘no’ to disinfection tunnels

“In indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaces by spraying or fogging is not recommended for COVID-19 as the disinfectant may not be effective in removing organic material and may miss surfaces shielded by objects, folded fabrics or surfaces with intricate designs”, a 44-page affidavit filed by the Ministry said.

“It’s better to use a cloth soaked in disinfectant indoors”, it stated.

Similarly, the effect of spraying outdoors was negligible. Disinfectants were deactivated the moment they touched dirt or debris. Streets and sidewalks were porous and the spray cannot reach everywhere. Besides, the Ministry said, “streets and sidewalks are not the reservoirs of infection for COVID-19”.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 4:50:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-asks-centre-why-no-ban-on-disinfectant-tunnels-despite-saying-spraying-of-chemicals-harmful/article32544001.ece

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