Health experts warn about improper disinfection

Cai Wenjun
Whole-body "disinfection channels" and large-scale chemical sprayings in public spaces are not only unnecessary, they may lead to health complications as well.
Cai Wenjun

It is unnecessary and potentially harmful to conduct whole-body virus disinfection, such as with so-called "disinfection channels" established at some residential complexes and offices, the Shanghai Health Commission said on Thursday.

Spray disinfection can be effective only if the person is completely soaked with disinfectant for an extended period of time, say experts. Such practices won't produce their intended effects, but may instead cause irritation to the eyes and skin, as well as allergic reactions and a host of breathing-related difficulties. What's more, such methods of disinfection violate Chinese law, experts note.

There have also been reports of large-scale disinfectant spraying on roads and green spaces. Health authorities say there are few risks of such areas becoming contaminated by viruses. What's more, outdoor spaces exposed to wind and sunshine cannot support viruses, so there is no need for disinfection. Spraying disinfectant chemicals may also pollute the environment as well.

The Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that proper disinfection of doorknobs, indoor ventilation and good personal hygiene habits like wearing masks and washing hands are effective for virus protection.

Disinfection in public venues should be conducted under the direction of professionals. Untrained staff should consult experts before engaging in disinfection.

The Shanghai Health Supervision Agency said on Thursday that it has provided in-hospital infection control training at 117 fever clinics in local hospitals. It has trained staff at 91 ports in the city as well.

Health officials have also visited railway stations, Metro stations, large department stores and supermarkets, hotels and office buildings to offer training and promote proper disinfection.

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