Tamil Nadu, India says no to new disinfection tunnels
Date: 22-04-2020

The Tamil Nadu government asked district collectors to refrain from installing “disinfection tunnels” in public places after experts said there was no “scientific proof” of the effectiveness of such tunnels in killing the coronavirus. The first “disinfection tunnel” in the country was launched in Tiruppur on April 1 and several districts in Tamil Nadu and other states, including Karnataka, followed suit.

After the number of such tunnels increased, experts raised concerns about the effectiveness of these chemicals sprayed on humans in killing the virus. Some of them even said the chemicals used to spray on humans might be more harmful than the virus itself. The Tamil Nadu government hence sought the opinion of an expert committee of doctors appointed by it to suggest measures to contain COVID-19.

The experts are understood to have said there was scientific proof of the effectiveness of disinfection tunnels. In a message to district collectors, the government on Friday evening said the chemicals, if used at higher concentrations, would result in irritation to eyes and skin.

The government said the public should “not be misled to think” that the virus will get killed if they pass through the tunnel in the absence of any scientific study. “On the contrary, washing hands with soap has been found to be extremely effective to prevent the spread of the virus. Hence, Collectors are requested to refrain from setting up of disinfectant tunnels in their districts,” the message read.

Three district collectors confirmed that they received a message regarding setting up of disinfection tunnels from the government. However, they said there was no clarity on the existing ones. “We will wait for further instructions. But it is clear we can’t set up new ones,” a district collector said. The solution sprayed on people who pass through the disinfection tunnel is 1 percent of sodium hypochlorite in 1 ppm, which was said to be cleared by doctors.