New Delhi: India’s chief health officer on Tuesday urged the public not to use disinfectant to wash hands, saying there is no need to use them in the event of an EV outbreak.
The announcement comes after a woman died in Kerala last week in what authorities are calling a case of suspected coronavirus.
The man who died of the virus has not been identified, but he is believed to have had close contact with her.
In a letter to the state’s top public health official, Prakush Javadekar said that the health ministry had already recommended that people use handwashing products for hand disinfection in cases of EV outbreaks.
“In a situation in which EV-related cases are reported, there is absolutely no need for hand washing for personal hygiene purposes in Kerala,” Javadekhar said in a letter addressed to the chief secretary to the cabinet, the Union Health Minister Prakanth Naidu and the state health minister.
“As far as we are aware, there are no EV cases in Kerala at present,” he added.
“It is only in the cases of cases where EV-linked coronaviruses have been detected in the state, that people should be advised not to wash their hands.
We have also urged that they should not use any type of disinfectant in cases where the use of such products is possible,” he said.
The Kerala government has declared a state of emergency in the north-western state of Kerala after a suspected EV outbreak last week.
More than 2,300 people were quarantined at a hospital in Kerala’s southern town of Bandel district and at two other hospitals in the district.
The number of confirmed EV cases is still at 5,300.
The chief secretary said that, in light of the latest developments, he was taking steps to review the use and administration of disinfectants for handwashing.
The government has also urged people not to buy hand sanitizers or other disinfectants from the internet or retailers.
“This is also a matter of urgency, and we are not going to make any statement that we are going to be the one to decide whether it is acceptable to use any disinfectant for hand hygiene purposes,” Javadeshi said.