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April 29 Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia unveils a Disinfectant Tunnel manufactured by the Numerical Machining Complex at the Nairobi Railway Station/Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development

Capital Health

Spraying booths ineffective in virus war, may cause skin irritation – MOH

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul  4 – Acting Health Director General Patrick Amoth Friday said that the sanitization booths installed in various parts of the country are neither safe nor helpful in combating the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking during a regular briefing on the status of pandemic in the country, Amoth said the chemicals used may expose people to severe respiratory conditions which can lead to death.

“When using chemicals like chlorine or hydrogen peroxide which are used commonly in those booths; in case you are asthmatic, you can get a severe attack which can lead to respiratory failure and even death,” the DG said.

He also said the chemicals can cause skin irritation that may cause dermatitis and eye irritation.

Amoth’s remarks came months after several government departments including police and transport sanctioned the installation of the booths in public spaces including railway termini and police stations.

In April, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia directed Kenya Railways to install disinfectant tunnels in all their stations to disinfect thousands of city residents boarding the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service trains.

“These are the solutions we need, through the efforts at the Kenya Numerical complex they are able to produce these kind of machines, modern and automated with sensors to make sure that everyone who comes through these systems are sanitized,” he said while unveiling the disinfectant tunnel on April 29.

“At a cost of Sh 450,000, we are able to produce these facilities to produce these facilities, we require to put these machines in every stations, I, therefore direct Kenya Railways to install those with immediate effect,” Macharia added.

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Amoth clarified that the booths do not hinder the spread of the virus which is carried and transmitted through droplets. 

In effect, he noted that government had advised county governments to pull down disinfection booths installed in various public spaces.

“We have sent an advisory to County Governments based on information received by World Health Organisation WHO that the sanitization  booths don’t add any value,” Amoth said.

“The primary mode of spraying is droplets spread, so even spraying 10,000 litres of chlorine will not stop one from coughing when leaving the tunnel and therefore  spreading the disease,” he added.

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