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COVID-19: ‘Disinfecting streets, open spaces does not eliminate virus’, WHO declares

The World Health Organization (WHO) agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health, warned on Saturday that spraying disinfectant on the streets, as practiced in some countries, does not eliminate the novel coronavirus and even poses a health risk.

This is coming after many countries including Nigeria have embarked on massive fumigation of streets and open spaces shortly after the disease became a pandemic.

This was contained in a document released by the World Health Organisation.

WHO said disinfecting open surfaces as part of the response to the virus 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.

“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 statement in part read.

According to the health body, 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”.

The organization warned that spraying chlorine or other toxic chemicals on people can cause eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm and gastrointestinal effects.

Studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of the pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide since its appearance in late December in China, can attach itself to surfaces and objects.

However, no precise information is currently available for the period during which the viruses remain infectious on the various surfaces.

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