New Delhi: A group of doctors from the AIIMS, Raipur has recommended restrictions on use of mobile phones in healthcare institutions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that such devices can be a potential carrier of the virus and lead to infection among healthcare workers.
In a commentary published in the BMJ Global Health journal, the doctors stated that mobile phone surfaces are a peculiar 'high-risk' surface, which can directly come in contact with the face or mouth, even if hands are properly washed and one study indicates some healthcare workers use phones every 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Though there have been many significant guidelines from various health organisations like the WHO and CDC focusing on prevention and control of disease, the commentary highlighted "there is no mention of or focus on mobile phones in these guidelines, including the WHO infection control and prevention guidelines, which recommends the use of hand washing".
“In their tendency to come in direct contact with the face, nose or eyes in healthcare settings, mobile phones are perhaps second only to masks, caps or goggles. However, they are neither disposable nor washable like these other three, thus warranting disinfection. Mobiles can effectively negate hand hygiene...,” the authors said.