Looks impressive, like mosquito fogging, but not effective, says a policy analyst.

PETALING JAYA: A public health expert, citing recent research on how Covid-19 spreads, has spoken out against shutting down buildings and offices to carry out sanitisation.

Universiti Malaya professor of medicine Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said sanitisation work had been deemed “a waste of time and money”.

Making reference to the closure of the Ampang Jaya police station recently, after 11 policemen tested positive for Covid-19, she said the police ought to ensure that those in the station, from officers to detainees, observed physical distancing and wore masks all the time, as well as took steps to improve ventilation.

The officers were believed to have contracted Covid-19 from several suspects. The station was closed for a day for sanitisation.

Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

Adeeba said recent evidence had shown that the risk of the virus being transmitted through surfaces is much less than originally thought.

“Current evidence points to the virus being spread more via airborne transmission. The practice of deep cleansing and closing down venues where cases have been detected not only costs a lot of money but is disruptive to the operations of a premise,” she said.

Azrul Khalib.

“But more importantly it actually detracts people from looking at doing things that are far more effective and simpler to do like physical distancing, wearing masks and having proper ventilation,” she told FMT.

The head of the Galen Centre think-tank, Azrul Khalib, said studies had shown that “Covid-19 rarely spread through surfaces” and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had changed its advisory last May to reflect this.

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He added deep cleansing exercises were being carried out in a similar way to mosquito fogging. “Looks impressive and appears to be an action in response to people’s concerns, but not really effective and may even provide a false sense of security,” he said.

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