The World Health Organization (WHO) agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health, warned on Saturday that spraying disinfectant on the streets, as practised in some countries, does not eliminate the novel coronavirus and even poses a health risk.

The WHO says spraying can be ineffective on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, in a document, as part of the response to the virus.

“Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is… not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris,” explains the WHO.

“Even in the absence of organic matter, chemical spraying is unlikely to adequately cover all surfaces for the duration of the required contact time needed to inactivate pathogens.”

According to the WHO, streets and pavements are not considered as “reservoirs of infection” of COVID-19 and spraying disinfectants, even outside, can be “dangerous for human health”.

The document also stresses that spraying individuals with disinfectants is “not recommended under any circumstances”.

“This could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus through droplets or contact,” said the document.

Spraying chlorine or other toxic chemicals on people can cause eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm and gastrointestinal effects, it adds.

The UN body has also against the systematic spraying and fumigating of disinfectants on to surfaces in indoor spaces, citing a study that has shown it to be ineffective outside direct spraying areas.

“If disinfectants are to be applied, this should be done with a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant,” it says.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has killed more than 300,000 people all around the world ever since it’s appearance was first reported in late December in China, can attach itself to surfaces and objects.

There is no clear information, although, available for the period during which the viruses remain infectious on the various surfaces.

According to several studies, the virus can stay on different types of surfaces for many days. However these theoretical studies are recorded under laboratory conditions therefore should be “interpreted with caution” in the real-world environment.

(With agency iinputs)