‘Do not inject disinfectant’, Scottish health boss says following Trump comments

Scotland’s clinical director has reminded the public that disinfectant is “for surfaces, not for bodies” after Donald Trump faced international condemnation for comments which suggested it could be injected into those suffering from coronavirus.

Jason Leitch
Thomasjlamont - Own work
Photo of Jason Leitch

CC BY-SA 4.0
File:Photo - Jason Leitch Large.jpg
Created: 29 November 2018
Jason Leitch
Thomasjlamont - Own work
Photo of Jason Leitch

CC BY-SA 4.0
File:Photo - Jason Leitch Large.jpg
Created: 29 November 2018
Jason Leitch Thomasjlamont - Own work Photo of Jason Leitch CC BY-SA 4.0 File:Photo - Jason Leitch Large.jpg Created: 29 November 2018

The US President hypothesised at a media briefing on Thursday night about the possibility of using a “tremendous ultraviolet” or “just very powerful light” on or even inside the body as a potential treatment.

“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute,” he said. “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?

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“Because you see it gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on them, so it’d be interesting to check that,” he said.

Mr Trump was speaking after a health official presented the results of US government research that indicated coronavirus appeared to weaken faster when exposed to sunlight and heat.

The president’s comments have been heavily criticised by doctors and have generated a huge online backlash.

Asked about Mr Trump’s remarks at a media briefing in Edinburgh today, Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, said: “I have some confidence in the decision-makers that I and my colleagues are advising. I can be absolutely certain that I don’t need to advise the First Minister that injecting disinfectant into your body will get you no where.

“There is however research going on all over the world, some of that involving drugs, some of that involving vaccines, and some of that involving disinfectant for surfaces and other parts of our infrastructure. Scotland is involved in many of them, and we are watching developments around the world.

“But I can categorically say, and it is a serious point, that at times of non-coronavirus, and coronavirus, disinfectant is for surfaces, not for bodies.”

Nicola Sturgeon did not criticise Mr Trump directly but stressed all leaders had a responsibility to inform the public based on solid, scientific advice.

“There is a responsibility on all leaders right now,” the First Minister said today. “I am really keen we have an open discussion with the public and politicians unusually, perhaps, admit things they don’t know, as well as sharing their thinking on things they do know.

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“The responsibility of leaders is not to stand up on a public platform and repeat things you have perhaps half-heard, or perhaps have misunderstood, and present that in a way the public might act on and could be dangerous.

“None of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes in this, but we all have to remember that very serious responsibility when we are giving advice to the public. It must be good advice, informed the best science available.#

“It is clearly not the case that ingesting disinfectant in any way shape or form is a good idea. It is a very, very bad idea.”

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