Photo: RAWSouthAfrica/Twitter

South Africa Gets Sanitation Booths to Spray Commuters

by Eben Diskin May 15, 2020

After the disinfection booth trial at Hong Kong International Airport, it’s now the turn of residents of South Africa to be sprayed clean before they enter public transportation.

Positioned at the entrance to several bus stations and a taxi rank in Soweto, as well as a train station in Pretoria, the booths spray incoming passengers with a plant-based sanitizing solution meant to kill the coronavirus. People go through the tunnel one by one in a single-file line, and are sprayed with a mist containing a disinfectant.

Bright Shabani, a 34-year-old merchandiser who regularly commutes via the train station, told Reuters, “I’m happy as long as they are trying to sanitize it, it shows…they are doing something.”

Thursday was the first day of the booth’s trial run at the Thokoza and Orlando bus stations in Soweto. Similar installations are currently being used at other locations, however, including at Gautrain Station in Hatfield and the Bara Taxi Rank in Soweto. According to Real African Works Industries, which makes the booths, the plant-based spray has proven to be 99.9 percent effective against bacteria and other pathogens, including a virus similar to the coronavirus.

While disinfection booths may give people peace of mind when entering public places, scientists aren’t convinced of the method’s effectiveness. Kerrin Begg and Nandi Siegfried, of South Africa’s College of Public Health Medicine, offered a less rosy perspective. “Any individual who walks through a tunnel who is infectious,” they said, “remains infectious on the other side of the tunnel.”

Social distancing, washing your hands, sneezing and coughing into your elbow, and not touching your face are still the most effective methods to limit the virus’ spread.

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