DILG to LGUs: Stop spraying disinfectants, mists on individuals
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) discouraged local government units (LGUs) from using disinfection tents, misting chambers or sanitation booths on individuals following the Department of Health’s (DOH) and World Health Organization (WHO) advisory stating that such measures on humans do not protect against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and “may even cause more harm than good.”
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that the last thing the national government needs right now are added health concerns on top of the COVID-19. He says that stopping the use of the said disinfection methods on people is the right step since its effectiveness has been refuted by the DOH.
“The most important thing is we continue to adapt as we discover new knowledge about COVID-19. Tulad na lamang na hindi makatutulong ang mga disinfection mist laban dito kaya naman we discourage the LGUs from using them sa kanilang mga nasasakupan,” said Año.
He says that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States America has debunked the effectiveness of disinfection practices reporting their lack of microbial efficacy and highlights their adverse health effects.
The DILG Chief, however, clarified that misting can still be done on cars, rooms, buildings, and other inanimate objects. “Ang sabi ng DOH ay 'wag lang sa tao ngunit puwede sa mga bagay so we are following that advisory,” he said.
Individuals, however, in full PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), characterized as having no external skin exposure, may be subject to misting or spraying before removing their full PPEs with careful consideration on the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat.
In an Advisory dated April 18, 2020, the DILG Secretary advised LGUs to prohibit the use of disinfection tents, misting chambers or sanitation booths for individuals without PPE in reference to DOH Memorandum 2020-0157.
The DOH issued said memorandum as a clarification following the clamor for the health agency to set the record straight on the efficacy and guidelines on spraying disinfectants or misting.
“We do not want to cause our citizens any harm as we combat this pandemic kaya patuloy po ang ating pakikipag-ugyanan sa DOH ukol sa mga pamamaraan upang mapigilan ang pagkalat ng coronavirus sa ating mga pamayanan at patuloy po tayong makikinig sa kanila kasabay ang pagpapaalala sa mga LGU ng mga dapat nilang gawin,” he says.
According to the said DILG Advisory, commonly used chemical disinfectants such as hypochlorite are irritant to the skin and the mucous membrane (eyes, nose, and throat) and may have adverse effects when inhaled. There are also limited studies that support the effectiveness of the said chemical disinfectant.
The DILG Chief says that LGUs are advised to repurpose the materials and staff initially utilized for these activities consistent to efforts aligned with DOH guidelines. “Hindi naman po masasayang ang mga resources na inilaan sa mga disinfection efforts. LGUs are directed to utilize these materials and staff sa iba pang mga effort laban sa COVID-19.”
He says that such materials and staff can be used for surface disinfection, disinfecting of objects, and use of booths for temporary isolation among others.