The Department of Health (DoH) urged the public anew on Monday to avoid large-scale misting following the death of a police medical officer due to accidental exposure to a toxic disinfectant, adding that it was saddened over the unfortunate incident.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated in a televised briefing on Monday that experts have yet to prove if misting or fogging are effective strategies to kill the novel coronavirus.
“The Department of Health is saddened with this unfortunate incident and strongly reiterates department memorandum 2020-0157 which strongly urges the public to avoid spraying or misting for COVID-19 at this time,” Vergeire said.
“To date, there is insufficient evidence to support large-scale misting, fogging or spraying both indoors and outdoors as an effective disinfection or decontamination strategy in non-health care setting to kill SARS-COV-2 which causes COVID-19,” she added.
The Philippine National Police said on Sunday that it had sought the DoH’s assistance for an independent probe into the death of Police Captain Casey Gutierrez due to inhalation injuries after he got sprayed with a disinfectant at the Philippine Sports Arena Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility.
Two other cops – Police Staff Sergeant Steve Rae Salamanca and Police Corporal Runie Toledo – were also exposed to the hazardous chemicals and were treated at the PNP General Hospital.
Salamanca and Toledo are members of the PNP Medical Reserve Force.
To recall, the DoH has already warned against large-scale spraying of disinfectant in public areas in April since it could cause pathogens to be dispersed further, as well as skin irritation and suffocation, even if other countries have done the practice in a bid to curb coronavirus transmission.
The World Health Organization also said that spraying disinfectants can harm eyes, mouth, and respiratory system of anyone that comes in contact with chemicals, adding that the best way to avoid the virus is to practice physical distancing and cough etiquette.