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Vietnam health ministry demands halt to COVID-19 disinfectant spraying in outdoor spaces

Vietnam health ministry demands halt to COVID-19 disinfectant spraying in outdoor spaces

Monday, August 02, 2021, 16:22 GMT+7
Vietnam health ministry demands halt to COVID-19 disinfectant spraying in outdoor spaces
This image shows a specialized vehicle spraying disinfectants on a street in Quoc Oai Town, Hanoi, Vietnam in late July 2021. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has requested local authorities not to spray coronavirus disinfectant in outdoor areas or on people, since such practice is both ineffective and unsafe.

The ministry made the request on Monday morning in a dispatch to all localities nationwide, asking them to stop such disinfectant spraying, based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In coping with the pandemic’s complicated developments that have caused surging infection cases, many cities and provinces have recently sprayed antiseptics in public areas to kill the coronavirus.

In addition, mobile disinfection chambers have also been created to serve people in coronavirus-infected areas.

However, the WHO has said that such disinfection is inefficient as streets and sidewalks are not places that contain SARS-CoV-2, the official name of the virus that causes COVID-19, said the ministry.

The WHO and CDC do not recommend public disinfection as such practice is not only ineffective and wasteful but also affects the sprayers' health and harm the surrounding environment, the ministry reported.

In addition, it is not advisable to spray COVID-19 disinfectant on people under any circumstance, for such spraying does not reduce the risk of infection, but it can be harmful to human health, these two agencies said.

Therefore, the ministry requested all provinces and cities not to spray coronavirus decontaminants in outdoor areas or on people in any case and any form.

Instead, antiseptic spraying should apply only to confined areas intended for COVID-19 patients, and only licensed disinfectants should be allowed to be used at the right doses and in the proper methods indicated on their labels, the ministry required.

Before the ministry released these instructions, there had existed warnings that outdoor sterilization and disinfection chambers against COVID-19 are costly and ineffective.

Since the pandemic erupted in Vietnam in early 2020, mass disinfection drives have been carried out in public areas in many provinces and cities.

Most recently, Ho Chi Minh City launched a large-scale COVID-19 disinfection campaign on July 23, followed by Binh Duong Province and Hanoi one day and three days later, respectively.

The health ministry on Monday morning confirmed 3,201 new cases, which have taken the country’s tally to 157,507, including 43,157 recoveries and 1,306 deaths, as recorded since early 2020.

Among the latest infections, 1,997 cases were detected in Ho Chi Minh City, which has recently become the largest epicenter in the country, with 97,076 cases reported as yet.

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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