Prof pours cold water over public sanitisation plans, cites CDC guidelines
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had since April updated its guidelines to advise against large scale sanitisation exercise as a Covid-19 prevention measure, infectious disease expert Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said today.
“Since the CDC guidances were mentioned… updated April 14, 2021,” said Adeeba on Twitter.
She said this in response to news reports that quoted Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, as well as Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department director-general Hamdan Wahid, who both defended the ongoing public sanitisation exercise as an effort to assist in the ongoing war against Covid-19.
Adeeba, who is the World Health Council Science Council member, had yesterday said the large scale exercise was a waste of limited resources that could be better used to purchase other equipment needed in the war against Covid-19.
He said three parts of the operations involved decontamination, disinfection and public sanitisation of an area.
According to updated guidelines, in most situations, cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent is enough to reduce any presence of coronavirus.
Contrary to the ongoing exercise which targets open premises including public markets, the CDC updated guidelines stated that disinfection is recommended in smaller indoor settings where there’s been a suspected/confirmed case within the last 24 hours.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Amar Singh HSS also shared additional excerpts from the CDC guideline which stated that large-scale spraying or fumigation for the Covid-19 virus, or other pathogens, is not recommended in outdoor spaces.
“Streets and sidewalks are not considered as routes for infection of Covid-19,” according to the guideline.
“This practice will be ineffective since the presence of dirt or rubbish, for example, inactivates the disinfectant, and manual cleaning to remove all matter is not feasible.
“This is even less effective on porous surfaces such as sidewalks and unpaved walkways,” it further stated.
Both Adeeba and Amar had retweeted Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh’s message criticising Zuraida for allegedly being stubborn in refusing to listen to advice by medical practitioners.
The latest round of nationwide sanitisation exercise has identified 284 locations, mostly in Selangor, while it was reported that the Housing and Local Government Ministry through the Fire and Rescue Department had completed over 25,000 operations since last March.