KUALA LUMPUR: It is highly crucial that all personnel carrying out Covid-19 cleaning and disinfection operations nationwide to be properly informed and trained on sanitisation procedures.
Former deputy Health director-general Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said he was perplexed upon seeing a recent video clip of a disinfection operation, where a solution was sprayed onto road surfaces.
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?
“On what basis or evidence are they doing that (disinfecting roads)? Yes, they might say that they are following the standard operating procedure (SOP), but who prepared the SOP and who endorsed it?
Otherwise, medical experts say, the move is merely a waste of resources.
“And look at the crowd (observing the operations). This publicity bliss is already putting many people at risk,” he said.
He stressed that the best way to “nyah kuman” (disinfect) 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.
Earlier this morning, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, along with the ministry’s personnel, carried out a public disinfection operation at a wet market in Jalan Othman.
She was seen surrounded by personnel in face masks and members of the public.
In another 1 minute 19 second-long clip shared on Facebook, a man in PPE can be seen spraying the disinfectants at shop lots, while seated on top of a moving truck.
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 in a WhatsApp reply to the New Straits Times today.
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.
Zuraida had earlier said the Fire and Rescue Department’s hazardous materials team (Hazmat) would carry out disinfection at high-risk locations in the country.
The NST has reached out to the Health Ministry for comments on the matter.