AN administration lawmaker on Sunday assailed the Department of Health for advising the public against spraying and misting as a means to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), saying the DOH is only confusing the public amid the pandemic.
Deputy speaker Dan Fernandez of Laguna said local government units (LGUs) have been spraying and misting for so many weeks now, gaining some confidence in the fight against COVID-19.
“We have an ammunition against it and then suddenly you’ll say this isn’t effective?” Fernandez told radio dzBB, pointing out that it was the DOH that taught the public to use disinfectants.
Fernandez demanded that the DOH recant its statement, calling it “an error of judgment.”
“My appeal to the DOH is withdraw your statement. Let’s do everything we can to combat this disease. Let’s cooperate instead of instilling doubts and pulling each other down,” he said in a Facebook post. “To DOH, mag-isip nga muna kayo kung meron kayo action na ginagawa (To DOH, think first if you’ve been taking actions to counter the spread of this virus).”
The DOH issued an advisory last Friday, saying “there is no evidence to support that spraying of surfaces or large-scale misting of areas, indoor or outdoor with disinfecting agents, kills the virus.”
The belated DOH advisory even warned the public that spraying can even cause pathogens to be dispersed further.
“Everyone should NOT spray or mist disinfectants at this time. Soak objects completely or disinfect surfaces directly to kill the virus,” it said.
The DOH said misting could cause health concerns like skin irritation and cause environmental pollution, to which Fernandez said, “What’s more important, skin irritation or the threat of dying from COVID-19?”
“May I remind the DOH Central Office that we are at war here. A war wherein we cannot see our enemy. We don’t have a cure,” he said.
Fernandez said countries like China have also been carrying out misting operations as a defense against COVID-19 and even the US Center for Disease Control has a protocol for the disinfection of facilities whenever someone tests positive for the virus.
“Tapos sa atin bawal whether indoor or outdoor? Bakit ganon? (And here, we are not allowed to do that whether indoor or outdoor? Why is that?)” he said.
Fernandez said government should “use all of its weapons” against COVID-19 in the absence of a vaccine “even if there’s just a slight chance that it could halt the spread of the disease.”
“Actions like these shouldn’t be prohibited. The side effect is just mild skin irritation anyway and people won’t inhale it because they’re wearing masks,” he said.