The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday reiterated the ban on misting and spraying disinfectants on people after the death of police doctor Casey Gutierrez last May 30.

Gutierrez, along with three other PNP Medical Reserve Force members, suffered irritation and difficulty in breathing after being sprayed with a disinfectant solution. Only Gutierrez died, while the two others were being treated at the PNP General Hospital.

“Ikinalulungkot namin ang pangyayaring ito lalo pa’t nilinaw naman ng DILG at ng Department of Health (DOH) noong Abril pa na mapanganib sa kalusugan ang misting at spraying,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

He reminded local government units and DILG’s attached agencies, including the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Fire Protection, of the danger of misting disinfectant chemicals to people.

He cited DOH’s Memorandum 2020-0157, stating that there was no evidence to support large-scale misting, fogging, or spraying, whether indoor or outdoor.

“LGUs and all public and private establishments are reminded that misting causes additional health concern because pathogens may be dispersed further, may result [in] skin irritation and inhalation of chemicals, and could even cause environmental pollution,” he said in reference to the DOH memo.

Commonly used chemical disinfectants such as hypochlorite are irritants to the skin and the mucous membrane (eyes, nose, and throat) and may have adverse effects when inhaled, the advisory explained.

Año added that measures to be taken against Covid-19 should be “strategic and scientific-based.”

“Napakasaklap mawalan ng isa na namang frontliner doctor sa gitna ng pandemya. Ang masakit pa rito’y kapabayaan ang ikinamatay ni Captain Gutierrez, hindi ang kalaban nating Covid-19,” the interior chief said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro