The use on disinfection tunnels for coronavirus is clinically and psychologically harmful, the Centre told the Supreme Court today. All concerned authorities have been informed and asked to stop using such tunnels, the Centre said at a hearing today on a petition regarding disinfection methods used by the government.
In response to the court's question on why the Centre is not banning the use of disinfection tunnels, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said appropriate directions will be issued by tomorrow.
Disinfection tunnels are 16 to 25 feet long structures that spray disinfectant liquids on people as they pass through. It is considered that a 60-second exposure to a spray can destroy the virus that may have landed on one's skin and clothes. Starting in China, they have mushroomed across the country outside markets and malls.
Medical health professionals, however say a walk through a disinfection tunnel cannot destroy the virus that lodges in the nasal passage and throat of an asymptomatic individual, who may infect others inside the market or mall.
This way, a disinfection tunnel can contribute to more infections, as lulled by a false sense of security, people can drop their guard and skip the mandatory safety measures like the use of masks, handwashing and social distancing.
Moreover, the disinfectants sprayed on people can be harsh and lead to skin problems, doctors have said. Inhaling them can result in serious health issues.
The World Health Organisation or WHO has advised against the use of sprays and other disinfectants on the body as preventive measures for coronavirus.
"Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body will not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous. These substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes," the WHO has said in its list of dos and don'ts for COVID-19.
The Supreme Court will take up the case next week.