Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo steps trough a sanitising station at Mabopane Taxi Rank during a visit to ensure that lockdown regulations are being followed. 
Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo steps trough a sanitising station at Mabopane Taxi Rank during a visit to ensure that lockdown regulations are being followed. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

There is no need for sanitisation tunnels, say experts

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published May 29, 2020

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Durban - Medical experts have warned against the use of sanitisation tunnels, adding that it was dangerous to spray such harsh chemicals onto people, more especially children. 

Speaking during a webinar hosted where the national health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize broke down the country's response to Covid-19 ahead of the downgrade to Level 3 of the lockdown on Monday, June 1, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, warned that there was little to no evidence on the safety of chemicals used in sanitisation tunnels. 

"Spraying humans with chemicals and fumigation tunnels are potentially dangerous and can damage the eyes, cause skin rashes and affect breathing. There is also no discernible benefit for coronavirus prevention as the virus cannot enter the body through intact skin. Only hand should be sprayed with sanitiser," Karim said. 

Professor Shaheen Mehtar, who also sits on the government's Covid-19 advisory committee added that the spraying of chemicals was particularly dangerous for children. 

She said it could have a massive impact on children, affecting their eyes, skin and respiratory systems. 

"There is no need to spray children. There is no need for disinfectant tunnels," she said. 

According to the coronavirus prevention toolbox the following protocols need to be strictly observed:

  • Social distancing
  • Hand hygiene - hand washing and hand sanitising
  • Screening for symptoms
  • Cloth masks and cough etiquette
  • Appropriate use of PPE
  • Testing, isolation, quarantine and contact tracing
  • Frequent environmental cleaning


On Friday, Mkhize and the panel broke down the country's plan for Covid-19. Mkhize noted that a large number of those who had contracted Covid-19 in SA were black. 

Mkhize was responding to questions asking for breakdowns of results by race group. He said while this was not how the information was collected initially, data that was available to the department should that the black population was mostly affected. 

The minister announced that as of Friday, 29 240 people in SA had tested positive for Covid-19.

He said 611 people have died from Covid-19 and 15 093 people had recovered. 

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