Shanghai refutes rumor about household disinfection
Published: May 11, 2022 10:41 PM
A technician disinfects a residential building where COVID-19 infections were discovered in Yangpu district, Shanghai on May 2, 2022. Photo: VCG

A technician disinfects a residential building where COVID-19 infections were discovered in Yangpu district, Shanghai on May 2, 2022. Photo: VCG

Shanghai’s anti-rumor platform on Wednesday refuted a rumor after a photo circulated online showing a damaged apartment door. The message with the photo said that the apartment had been broken into and the owner had been transferred to centralized quarantine. 

The photo and the message went viral on the internet with many saying that the apartment had been broken into for disinfection. Disinfection of residences to prevent COVID-19 has become a hot topic after video clips and photos were posted online in recent days showing chaotic scenes at apartments receiving mandatory disinfection. 

The rumormonger is a resident of a compound in Huangpu district. Investigations showed that the rumormonger’s neighbor had forgotten to bring the key to the apartment while going downstairs for nucleic acid testing in late April, and had asked the fire brigade to “break into” the residence. 

The rumormonger has been educated by the local police, and will await further punishment. 

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Jin Chen, deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-rural Development, stressed that household disinfection is an important part of epidemic prevention and control, noting that the procedures for disinfection of the homes of people who have tested positive have been standardized. 

Such standardized procedures include communication with the apartment owner before the disinfection, as well as filming the entire progress, Jin said.

A disinfection technician surnamed Zeng in Shanghai told the Global Times on Wednesday that the disinfection requires professional knowledge, skills and devices and that this cannot be done by residents themselves. 

According to China’s Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, sewage, waste, places and items that are contaminated by a pathogen must be strictly disinfected under the guidance of the disease prevention and control institutions or in accordance with their hygiene requirements.

Based on a notice jointly released by the Shanghai special work group of environmental renovation and disinfection and the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), terminal disinfection refers to a thorough disinfection of an epidemic site after the source of infection leaves the epidemic site or terminates its infectious status, and it aims to completely eliminate the living pathogen spread and left by the patient in the room and on various objects. The disinfection is an important step in consolidating the epidemic prevention and control achievements.  

According to the notice issued by the Shanghai work group, if refrigerators, freezers, cloakrooms, toilets and other places where viruses can survive for a longer period of time are not effectively disinfected, they can cause infection and transmission of the virus. 

According to Zeng, disinfection technicians must be properly trained. There are strict requirements and evaluation for the disinfection equipment and duration of the process, an article published by Shanghai’s anti-rumor platform said. 

Zeng also admitted that household disinfection can cause damage since the disinfectant has a corrosive effect on some materials. Besides, there are specific requirements on the amount of disinfectant to be used. For example, a 100-square-meter apartment must be disinfected with 10 liters of disinfectant, Zeng noted. 

“Moreover, the apartment has to be kept airtight for 60 minutes after disinfection. If the disinfectant is wiped off one hour later, the influence can be reduced. However, the practice can be conducted while the apartment owners are away for quarantine,” Zeng said. 

According to a resident surnamed Li from Jing’an district in Shanghai, the epidemic prevention and control workers disinfected the public areas and the infectious apartments in her residential building, and she said it made her feel at ease. 

A report by a local television station in Shanghai showed that it takes nearly 30 minutes to conduct disinfection in an apartment with an area of around 20 square meters.