New Delhi: In Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly, some migrants who were returning to their home after trudging miles on foot were made to sit in rows. In the presence of the police, disinfectant was sprayed on them. The video, which revealed the bias that people have against migrant workers, went viral. Questions were being raised why the same was not done to people who were coming from abroad. Also Read - Durga Puja 2020: Goddess Durga Depicted as Doctor Slaying ‘Coronasur’ With Syringe, Shashi Tharoor Calls it ‘Brilliantly Appropriate’
Weeks after that horrific video, the Union Health Ministry has issued an advisory against the spraying of disinfectant on people for COVID-19 management, saying it is physically and psychologically harmful. Even if a person is potentially exposed to the COVID-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus that has entered the body, it said, adding there is no scientific evidence to suggest that they are effective even in disinfecting the outer clothing/body in an effective manner. Also Read - Ben Lister Becomes First Coronavirus Substitute After Mark Champan Falls Ill During Plunket Shield
The ministry said it has received many queries regarding the efficacy (if any) of use of disinfectants such as sodium hypochlorite spray on individuals to disinfect them. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccine Update: China’s Sinovac Vaccine Appears Safe in Late-stage Clinical Trial
“The strategy seems to have gained of a lot of media attention and is also being reportedly used at local levels in certain districts/local bodies,” the ministry said.
Disinfectants are chemicals that destroy disease-causing pathogens or other harmful microorganisms. It refers to substances applied on inanimate objects owing to their strong chemical properties.
Chemical disinfectants are recommended for cleaning and disinfection only of frequently touched areas/surfaces by those who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
Precautionary measures are to be adopted while using disinfectants for cleaning like wearing gloves during disinfection.
“Spraying of individuals or groups is not recommended under any circumstances. Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants is physically and psychologically harmful,” it said.
Spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of mucous membranes to the nose, throat, respiratory tract and may also cause bronchospasm, the advisory said.
Additionally, the use of such measures may, in fact, lead to a false sense of disinfection and safety and actually hamper public observance to hand washing and social distancing measures, it stated.
(With PTI Inputs)