MANILA — The Department of Health on Monday said it is allowing health workers wearing personal protective equipment to pass through misting tents as part of safety measures against the new coronavirus, but does not recommend misting or spraying to the general public for disinfection.
“Una, hindi po kami sang-yon sa pag-spray o mist sa tao sa komunidad. Hindi natin ito dapat gawin dahil maaari po itong magdulot ng mas malaking problema sa kanilang kalusugan,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
“Ito po ay maaaring maging sanhi ng iritasyon lalo na sa may hika o ubo.”
(First of all, we do not agree with the use of spray or mist on people in the community. We should not do this because it may cause bigger problems when it comes to their health. This can be a source of irritation, especially for those who have asthma or cough.)
Vergeire said the chemicals used can be hazardous to humans and pets.
Citing the World Health Organization, Vergeire said misting is not that effective in fighting the COVID-19 virus and can even harm people.
The DOH earlier said it received reports of people complaining of asthma or dermatitis because of misting.
But, Vergeire said, “Hindi po pinagbabawal ang spraying tents sa loob ng ospital kung saan dumadaan ang health care workers na nakasuot ng tamang PPEs.”
(We are not prohibiting spraying tents inside hospitals where health workers wearing PPEs pass through.)
Personal protective equipment or PPEs include face masks, face shields and full body suits that are meant to protect health workers against the COVID-19 virus, which is transmitted through droplets. It can also protect them from chemicals used in misting tents.
Vergeire denied the DOH prohibited the misting tents donated to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) by actress Angel Locsin.
“Tinanggal na po ang misting tents for public, but the tents for health care workers doon sa PGH ay andun pa rin,” Vergeire explained.
(The misting tents for the public were removed, but the tents for the health care workers in PGH are still there.)
Vergeire said only the tents that can bring harmful effects on people were removed.
She thanked Locsin and emphasized that the actress has been following the DOH protocol when it comes to donations.
Vergeire said the public should instead disinfect objects through wiping surfaces.
“Kung hindi maiiwasan o imposible ang direct surface cleaning, saka tayo magresort to spraying or misting. Ngunit kailangang mag-ingat if this is in a closed space,” she said.
(If it can’t be avoided or direct surface cleaning is impossible, then that’s when we resort to spraying or misting. However, you should be careful if this is in a closed space.)
Besides misting tents, local government units have been spraying streets using disinfectants. The DOH mentioned that spraying or misting can “cause pathogens to be dispersed further during spraying,” but it did not specifically say if disinfecting streets should be halted.
As of Monday, there has been 4,932 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Of that number, 242 have recovered and 315 have died.