Experts Say Disinfectant Tunnels Don’t Help to Stop COVID-19 & Could Harm People Instead

There’s one universal truth when it comes to Covid-19.

Disinfect, disinfect and disinfect some more.

Which is probably why many bosses might be thinking of getting something like this to fight Covid-19:

Image: Zee News

A disinfectant tunnel, it comprises of a walk-through structure and an ioniser which releases “industrial-grade disinfectant” to disinfect anyone walking through it.

Sounds like a goody idea, right? Something that building management, restaurants and retail outlets might be interested in.

Except, there’s one tinny little problem.

Experts Say Disinfectant Tunnels Don’t Help to Stop COVID-19

According to the Straits Times, several experts have come forward to warn against the use of such disinfectant tunnels.

Professor Dale Fisher, a senior infectious diseases consultant at the National University Hospital is of the opinion that it doesn’t help the Covid-19 situation much.

The coronavirus is within the bodies, and not on their clothes or skin.

Even if someone with Covid-19 is sprayed with disinfectant, he or she will still be able to go into the building and infect other people.

Associate Professor Hsu Liyang pointed out that such devices are more for “public confidence” and has limited effectiveness.

In other words, all looks, no substance.

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It Could Harm People Instead

In the British-based Occupational Medicine journal, a report warned that even if a chemical is deemed as “safe” when applied externally in liquid form, it can be “extremely toxic when atomised and inhaled”.

The report has studied a range of 9 disinfectants that are commonly used in such tunnels.

“Direct aerosol contact with the cornea can cause irritation and irreversible damage. Skin irritation and damage are also common.”

And if UV light is used, a 15-minute exposure is will cause damage to the skin and the eyes, maybe even leading to skin cancer.

Dr Kristen Coleman of the Duke-NUS Medical School agrees with the report and said that while she appreciates the innovativeness that people are showing to fight Covid-19, disinfectant tunnels are “extremely” dangerous:

“Exposure to a surrounding mist of chemical disinfectants through direct contact and inhalation can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.”

Professor Dale Fisher also added that if anyone is exposed to such “disinfection” for several times a day for months, it could result in serious consequences like potentially inflammatory conditions and cancers.

I guess, for now, we can only #stayhome and wash our hands frequently while we wait for the next big thing.

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