Sanitising roads useless and wasteful, experts say

Malaysiakini picture

By Chew Lip Song

SPRAYING disinfectant on public roads is useless and wasteful and does little to contain the spread of Covid-19, health experts said.

Former Health deputy director-general Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said he was perplexed after seeing a recent video clip of a disinfection operation, where a solution was sprayed onto road surfaces, the NST reported.

He explained that authorities should instead disinfect frequent touch-points, such as doorknobs, lift buttons, and escalator railings to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“What are they (the personnel) doing? Who is advising them? (It is) truly a waste of money. How are the roads and road curbs being contaminated? By infected people coughing onto them en masse?

“Even if road surfaces are contaminated, how could they get to your face? By people scrubbing their hands on the contaminated road surfaces and touching their faces?

“And look at the crowd (observing the operations). This publicity blitz is already putting many people at risk,” he said.

The best way to curb this, he said, is to stay at home.

“What a waste, the money spent could well be used for other more meaningful purposes, for example, for hospital staff who are preparing their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” he added.

Eminent local virologist Emeritus Professor Datuk Lam Sai Kit said roads are unlikely to be contaminated or a source of infection.

He said disinfection should be more targeted where contamination is most likely to have taken place, such as areas where hands are likely to come into contact with the virus.

“(Spraying roads) may even be a waste. Personnel should be trained to disinfect places where (droplets containing the virus) are likely to fall and be the source of infection. Not roads.

“From the photo (where personnel were spraying roads), it appeared that they are washing the road. I hope there was no aerosol created with the jet of water used and people mingling around as shown,” he said.

Malaysian Public Health Medicine Specialist Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar described the operation as a waste of resources.

“What is this? Is this effective (in killing the virus)? Or is it a mere waste of resources and disinfectants, besides creating a false sense of security?” he wrote.

Earlier, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, along with the ministry’s personnel, carried out a public disinfection operation at a wet market in Petaling Jaya.

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