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Do not heed Trump's hint about injecting disinfectant, says Foster

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US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence listen to Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N Bryan (left) at a daily coronavirus briefing

US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence listen to Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N Bryan (left) at a daily coronavirus briefing

AFP via Getty Images

US President Donald Trump and US Vice President Mike Pence listen to Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N Bryan (left) at a daily coronavirus briefing

Donald Trump's suggestion that coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body has been branded "extraordinary" by Northern Ireland's First Minister.

Dismissing the US President's comments, Arlene Foster said it was important for people to be guided by proper medical advice.

Mr Trump noted that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on coronavirus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people.

A leading disinfectant producer later issued a strong warning not to use its products on the human body.

Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Lysol and Dettol, said "under no circumstance" should its products be injected or ingested.

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First Minister Arlene Foster during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Friday.Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

First Minister Arlene Foster during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Friday.Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

First Minister Arlene Foster during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Friday.Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Mrs Foster, speaking at the daily briefing at Stormont, said: "Well, it is an extraordinary thing for a US President to say and I'm certainly sure that it's not based on any medical advice...

"It is important that we continue to take medical advice. Certainly, Michelle (O'Neill) or I don't claim to be virologists at any time.

"We aren't experts in the field therefore we are very much led by the advice that we are given both locally and nationally."

Downing Street has distanced itself from the remarks, with the Prime Minister's official spokesman confirming there were no plans to look into following Mr Trump's suggestion in the UK.

Probed on whether Boris Johnson thought the President's remarks were a responsible suggestion to make, his spokesman added: "We can only speak for the UK's response and in relation to disinfectant I'm certainly not aware it is anything that is being recommended. Our approach is being driven by UK science and medical advice."

In response to Mr Trump's comments, William Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security science and technology unit said US health officials were not considering such treatment.

Parastou Donyai, director of pharmacy practice and professor of social and cognitive pharmacy at the University of Reading, said: "What is shocking about these latest comments is that they completely bypass other important facts about injections too. Not only will home-made injections bruise, burn, or block the veins, they will almost certainly also introduce new infections straight into the body, the very thing people are desperate to avoid."

"People worried about the coronavirus or Covid-19 should seek help from a qualified doctor or pharmacist, and not take unfounded and off-the-cuff comments as actual advice," she added.

At a chaotic White House briefing Mr Trump also appeared to propose irradiating patients' bodies with UV light, an idea dismissed by a doctor. The President has often talked up prospects for new therapies and offered rosy timelines for the development of a vaccine.

Earlier in the month scientific advisers told the White House there was no good evidence that the heat and humidity of summer will rein in the virus without continued public health measures.

Researchers convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine analysed studies done so far to test virus survival under different laboratory conditions, as well as tracking where and how Covid-19 has spread so far.

"Given that countries currently in 'summer' climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed," the researchers wrote in response to questions from the White House Office of Science and Technology. They noted that during 10 previous flu pandemics, regardless of what season they started, all had a peak second wave about six months after the virus emerged.

Belfast Telegraph