Limiting potential COVID-19 contagion in squatting public toilets

Li Pan, Shuang Lan Chen, Yi Sha Guo, Yu Xiang Du, Xiao Di Wu, Alice Y.M. Jones, Jia Han

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
    34 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Since the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten global stability. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is mostly by respiratory droplets and direct contact but viral RNA fragments have also been detected in the faecal waste of patients with COVID-19. Cleanliness and effective sanitation of public toilets is a concern, as flushing the toilet is potentially an aerosol generating procedure. When the toilets are of the squatting type and without a cover, there exists a risk of viral contamination through the splashing of toilet water and aerosol generation. Objective: This study aims to determine whether the cleanliness of public toilets was a concern to the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether a squatting toilet was preferred to a seated design. Methods: A questionnaire was designed and posted on "WeChat" contact groups of the investigators. Results: The survey showed that 91% of participants preferred squatting toilets, but that 72% were apprehensive of personal contamination when using public toilets. Over 63% of the respondents had encountered an incidence of water splash and would prefer public toilets to be covered during flushing and 83% of these respondents preferred a foot-controlled device. Conclusion: This survey suggests that consideration should be given to the installation of a simple foot-controlled device to cover public squatting toilets to help restrict potential COVID-19 contamination and to meet hygienic expectations of the public.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-125
    Number of pages7
    JournalHong Kong Physiotherapy Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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