The COVID-19 outbreak is causing widespread disruption to daily life. Hong Kong people living in cramped subdivided flats with poor hygiene conditions have been particularly hard hit. In light of this alarming situation, Lingnan University (LU) jointly launched “Project Ultra Violite” with NGOs to provide a free, efficient UV disinfection service for 1,000 subdivided flats. It is the territory’s first community-wide programme using UV disinfection technology.
Thirty mobile UV-C Germicidal Light systems have been designed and assembled by the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative of the University. The first stage of the project will provide free, rapid UV disinfection services for 1,000 subdivided flats, and 120 Health Ambassadors, trained by LU, have volunteered to provide disinfection services in older districts, to help to prevent the virus from spreading through the units, and reduce the risks of household infection and community outbreaks.
The Project Ultra Violite uses the UV-C lamp with a wavelength of 253.7nm found in the traditional biological science laboratory as the blueprint. Scientific research shows that UV light can effectively kill 95 per cent of viruses, bacteria and fungi, preventing the spread of pathogens through the air or on the surface of objects. The mobile protection device, portable stand, intelligent sensor, remote control, and the household power supply of the UV-C system have been designed and assembled by LU. It takes 30 minutes to complete the whole house disinfection process.
“The germicidal UV-C light is a mature technology for disinfection, but it has no wider application in society. As there are no similar products on the market, we have had to design and assemble this ourselves,” said project leader Dr Albert Ko Wing-yin, Director of Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative, adding that the device is intended to clean cramped subdivided flats with poor hygiene conditions, where the “killing virus” is a priority concern. It is light enough to be carried up buildings without elevators and equipped with a remote on/off switch and motion sensor to ensure the UV-C lamp automatically shuts down if opened -- an extra safety measure.
Dr Ko said that the operation teams have already disinfected 150 households since late April, and that the response has been very positive and encouraging. He hopes the next stage will have 300 mobile UV-C systems and more Health Ambassadors, and provide regular disinfection services for subdivided flats and even small houses in Hong Kong.