LETTER | Public sanitisation: MMA fully agrees with Dr Adeeba

Dr Subramaniam Muniandy


LETTER | The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) fully agrees with Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman's views that public sanitisation efforts by the Housing and Local Government are indeed a waste of resources. Public funds should be put to better use.

Nor Hizwan Ahmad is no expert on infectious diseases. The political secretary to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin should have given the right advice to his boss instead of apple polishing. 

It is clear from his comments on the matter reported in the media two days ago, the minister's aide did not do his homework and hasn't a clue on the effective management of Covid-19. This is why experts like Adeeba are needed to advise the government.

The latest evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is an airborne virus therefore large scale disinfecting of public areas will not be effective in preventing the spread of the disease.

It is also pointless as these large surfaces disinfected will very quickly be contaminated again. The SOPs of physical distancing, face masking and hand sanitising are far more effective, evidence-based preventive measures against Covid-19.

Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman

Public sanitisations are also not among recommendations from leading health authorities.

According to the United States Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) "spraying cleaning products or disinfectants in outdoor areas - such as on sidewalks, roads or groundcover - is not necessary, effective or recommended."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also issued an alert about the hazards of public disinfections as the chemicals used, such as formaldehyde, chlorine-based agents or quaternary ammonium are not recommended due to their adverse health effects.

The MMA hopes that after three MCOs and now a second full lockdown, the government has woken up and realised it is time to start listening to the experts. 

It is clear, from the exponentially high numbers of infections and high death rate we see today, a number of government policies have failed to bring the Covid-19 situation in the country under control.

It is time to listen to experts like Adeeba. The WHO highly appreciates her contributions. Shouldn't her home country do the same?

DR SUBRAMANIAM MUNIANDY is president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.