What's the Big Idea series

After PNP doctor’s death, DOH repeats advice vs large-scale disinfectant spraying

Sofia Tomacruz
After PNP doctor’s death, DOH repeats advice vs large-scale disinfectant spraying
Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterates there is insufficient evidence that the practice is an effective strategy in killing the coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – Following the death of a police doctor belonging to the Philippine National Police, the Department of Health (DOH) reiterated its advice against spraying and misting disinfectant as a way of killing the coronavirus. 

In a press briefing on Monday, June 8, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department was “saddened” by news that Police Captain Casey Gutierrez died on Saturday, May 30, after inhaling disinfectant while at work.

Gutierrez, 31, who worked at the Philippine Sports Arena quarantine facility, was reportedly sprayed with disinfectant after attending to a patient.

A report by the Philippine Star said the disinfectant had apparently been too concentrated for it to be used directly on a person, causing Gutierrez to fall ill and eventually die. 

The PNP said two more police officers from its medical reserve force also experienced the same problem and were treated at the PNP General Hospital. 

Vergeire reminded the public about an earlier order from the DOH: avoid the practice of spraying and misting.  

“To date, there is insufficient evidence to support large-scale misting, fogging, or spraying both indoors or outdoors as an effective disinfection or decontamination strategy in non-healthcare settings that kills the SARS-COVID2 virus, which causes COVID-19,” she said. 

The PNP earlier said the DOH would lead an investigation into cops’ accidental exposure to  toxic disinfectants. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.