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Statement on the opportunity for specific cleaning or disinfection of the pavements and public spaces

As part of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, countries or towns and cities are cleaning public spaces using disinfectant.

In answer to the question about the opportunity of such measures, the French High Council for Public Health (Haut Conseil de la santé publique, HCSP) has examined international experiences and the scientific literature and performed an analysis of the risk of the population being contaminated through public spaces (in the street and from street furniture) as well as the risk associated with using detergents and disinfectants on the ecosystem and urban environment.

The HCSP stresses the need to apply the basic protective measures, especially social distancing and hand hygiene if coming into contact with the surfaces of street furniture, to prevent cross transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in public spaces.

Whilst noting its psychological impact on the population, the HCSP does not recommend implementing a pavements disinfection or specific cleaning policy as there are no scientific arguments to support the effectiveness of such a measure on preventing SARS-CoV-2 environmental transmission to humans.

The HCSP, however, recommend continuing the usual street cleaning procedures as well as cleaning and disinfecting street furniture often touched by the population at a more regular intervals, with the staff involved using the usual protective equipment. Finally, it recommends above all not using devices that can blow dust from the ground, such as leaf blowers.

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