Spraying disinfectants on streets in Sri Lanka could be ‘harmful’

Sunday, 17 May 2020
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) has warned.
Sri Lanka is among the few countries that spray disinfectant on the streets and local organisations like the Public Health Inspectors (PHI) union and the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (SLCM) had warned that the process was not effective and could also be harmful.
Now, in a document on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as part of the response to the virus, the WHO says spraying can be ineffective.
“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,” explains the WHO, according to the AFP news agency.
“Even in the absence of organic matter, chemical spraying is unlikely to adequately cover all surfaces for the duration of the required contact time needed to inactivate pathogens.”
The WHO said that streets and pavements are not considered as “reservoirs of infection” of COVID-19, adding that spraying disinfectants, even outside, can be “dangerous for human health”.