‘Spraying disinfectants can be harmful’

Spraying disinfectant on the streets, as practised in some countries, does not eliminate the new coronavirus and even poses a health risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Saturday.

“Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is... not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris,” said the WHO in a document.

The WHO said that streets and pavements are not considered as “reservoirs of infection” of COVID-19, adding that spraying disinfectants can be “dangerous for human health”.

It added that spraying individuals with disinfectants is “not recommended under any circumstances”. “This could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus,” said the document. Spraying chlorine or toxic chemicals on people can cause eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm and gastrointestinal effects.

“If disinfectants are to be applied, this should be done with a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant,” it said.

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