The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) fully agrees with Professor Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman’s views that public sanitisation efforts by the Housing and Local Government is indeed a waste of resources. Public funds should be put to better use.
Nor Hizwan Ahmad is no expert on infectious diseases. The political secretary to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin should have given the right advice to his boss instead of apple polishing. It is clear from his comments on the matter reported in the media two days ago, the minister’s aide did not do his homework and hasn’t a clue on the effective management of Covid-19. This is why experts like Professor Adeeba are needed to advise the government.
Latest evidence show that SARS-CoV-2 is an airborne virus therefore large scale disinfecting of public areas will not be effective in preventing spread of the disease.
It is also pointless as these large surfaces disinfected will very quickly be contaminated again. The SOPs of physical distancing, facemasking and hand sanitising are far more effective, evidence based preventive measures against Covid-19.
Public sanitisations are also not among recommendations from leading health authorities.
According to the United States Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) “spraying cleaning products or disinfectants in outdoor areas – such as on sidewalks, roads or groundcover – is not necessary, effective or recommended.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued an alert about the hazards of public disinfections as the chemicals used, such as formaldehyde, chlorine-based agents or quaternary ammonium, are not recommended due to its adverse health effects.
The MMA hopes that after three MCOs and now a second full lockdown, the government has woken up and realised it is time to start listening to the experts. It is clear, from the exponentially high numbers of infections and high death rate we see today, a number of government policies have failed to bring the Covid-19 situation in the country under control.
It is time to listen to experts like Prof Adeeba. The WHO highly appreciates her contributions. Shouldn’t her home country do the same?
Professor Dr Subramaniam Muniandy is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
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