South Africans could soon see all manner of elaborate sanitising equipment – including disinfection tunnels – deployed to public areas to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Given its infectious nature, citizens have been requested to take certain measures when going out in public.
This includes wearing face masks, maintaining physical distancing, and washing or sanitising hands often.
Malls and grocery stores have also rolled out hand sanitising stations and traffic control measures to manage the number of people on premises at any given time.
If restrictions on movement and business operations are gradually lifted as South Africa moves to lower lockdown alert levels, however, many businesses will see foot traffic increase.
This means there may be an increased need for equipment to help manage the risk of the virus spreading.
One product which appears to be gaining traction is the coronavirus sanitising tunnel.
These container-like boxes are placed so that people have to walk through them before entering a building.
The tunnels operate using sensors that detect when a person moves through them, which then activate a sanitising spraying solution.
The solution kills the virus and disinfects people passing through.
A Spar Express store in Mbombela recently rolled out one of these sanitising tunnels at their entrance.
Called the Anti-Vi, it sprays a non-alcoholic solution with sodium sulphate as the active ingredient to disinfect shoppers and items which they are carrying before they enter the store.
The solution has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority as safe for human use, said the company.
The Anti-Vi employs seven spray nozzles which are powered by a misting system – and can work on low flow or high pressure.
One of the nozzles is placed at the entrance of the unit to let people sanitise their hands, too, while the entire system boasts a 120-litre chemical reservoir with wheels for easy movement.
The company said that the running cost of the Anti-Vi will run between R50-R65 per 500 customers.
JF Equipment has also developed a heavy duty container-like tunnel called the Sani Tunn.
Its unit is made from either aluminium or stainless steel, and is designed for long-term use with plenty of traffic.
The Sani Tunn can be configured to form a tunnel by inter-locking multiple 2.5-metre sections according to the requirements of the environment in which it will be used.
The company said its sanitising spray, which can be stored in a tank ranging from 50-1,000 litres, works with all fabrics and synthetics – including trolleys and pushchairs – and is hypoallergenic for safe use on skin.
JF Equipment said it has seen big demand for the Sani-Tunn since it was announced.
“We launched the product about three weeks ago and to date, have sent out approximately 3,000 quotations across various industries,” it stated.
Several other variants of disinfection tunnels are also being manufactured in South Africa.
Jachris have launched the SpraySafe, an automated mist safety tunnel which is made of nickel-plated brass and polycarbonate sheets.
The SpraySafe is designed as a smaller, plug-and-play solution, allowing for easy and quick transport and deployment, said the company.
Afriten Technologies manufactures a tunnel that sprays sanitising mist, in addition to a disinfection tunnel that uses ozone to kill germs and bacteria.
The company said its solution can be deployed in several areas, including entrances to offices, shopping centres and malls, grocery stores, restaurants, schools and universities, and industrial facilities.
Photos of the Anti-Vi and Sani Tunn, as well as concept images of the tunnels from Jachris and Afriten, are below.