This late in the day, DOH warns on use of UV light

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    THE Department of Health (DOH) has cautioned the public on the use of ultraviolet (UV) light to sanitize objects, particularly to kill the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Earlier, the health department also warned that spraying the streets, cars and people with chemical disinfectants will most likely be detrimental to the public’s health.

    It was Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire who clarified that improper use of UV light may cause skin burns or eye irritation, adding that its use is mainly advisable in hospital settings, and handled by experts.

    Vergeire said UV light can have harmful effects for people when it is not used properly.

    ‘This situation gives rise to doubts if the Inter-Agency Task Force, which relies on Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and the DOH for scientific guidance on fighting the pandemic, is really leading us all with the right policies.

    When used at home by people who do not know how to use it, UV light may inflict burns on the skin or may cause irritation in their eyes. The undersecretary’s advice is to limit the use of ultraviolet light in health facilities, and handled expertly.

    Undersecretary Vergeire stressed that direct wiping is the best way to disinfect objects. “We recommend the direct wiping of surfaces using a rag with disinfectant. This is supported by scientific evidence,” she added.

    If not for the seriousness of the thing, it is somewhat funny that the whole nation is on the 8th month of fighting and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and still the Department of Health is coming up with really basic things on how to live with the virus.

    This situation gives rise to doubts if the Inter-Agency Task Force, which relies on Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and the DOH for scientific guidance on fighting the pandemic, is really leading us all with the right policies.

    Already, a group of doctors led by former health secretary Jaime Galvez Tan has pointed out the deficiencies of IATF basic assumptions that guides President Duterte in imposing quarantine levels in various towns and cities of the country. Other groups have long questioned the use of face masks and face shields, and the closure of public parks such as the Luneta, pointing out that COVID-19 transmission often occurs in confined rooms and spaces, not in wide, open areas.

    It is the timing and tentativeness of DOH pronouncements that give rise to doubts on the government’s official response to the pandemic.