A €108,000 government tender calling for 7.2 million disinfecting wipes for hands and surfaces at Malta’s schools is demanding products that do not kill COVID-19.
Public documents for a tender being issued by the Health Department, on behalf of the Education Department, is asking for antibacterial wipes, which are able to kill bacteria and not viruses like COVID-19. The issue was raised by several applicants, who noted that antimicrobial wipes would be by far more effective.
However, the Health Ministry refused to alter the request, insisting that it was not looking for wipes that kill COVID-19. The response has raised major questions, with many asking whether the government is about to fork out €108,000 when it could be spending the money on more effective products.
The decision seems to run contrary to regulations outlined by the Health Authorities, who have said that disinfection in educational establishments must be effective against viruses specifically COVID-19.
Antimicrobial products are effective in combating pathogens and help ease the chances of the risk of infection.
While washing your hands should always be encouraged, particularly during a pandemic, there is currently no evidence that antibacterial products are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.
In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients could do more harm than good in the long-term and more research is needed.
Sources have raised concerns that the decision could put the safety of teachers and students at risk, while others seemed to suggest that the tender is being written in a manner to cater to one particular applicant.
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