The tunnel was designed to help communities fight against the spread of COVID-19. The tunnel was designed to help communities fight against the spread of COVID-19. The tunnel was designed to help communities fight against the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: Courtesy RD Pack)

Sanitary tunnel sprays people with disinfectant to prevent the spread or coronavirus

The device is currently undergoing a trial at a soccer stadium in Israel.

Sports leagues across the world were put on temporary hiatus as the global coronavirus pandemic stretched across the globe this spring. Now, as many countries begin carefully reopening for business, professional sports teams are looking to come out of hibernation. In America, for example, the NBA is set to resume play with a truncated summer season consisting of a reduced number of teams playing in a contained environment – a sports complex at Disney World in Orlando. It's expected that these games will be played with no fans in attendance.

Soccer play has already resumed in some countries – including in Israel, where researchers have invented a device aimed at mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. It's a specially designed misting tunnel which disinfects people as they walk through it. As of now, it is only being used for players, team staff and the media – as no fans have yet been allowed back in to watch the matches. According to a report from Reuters, "A water pump machine senses when someone enters and spray nozzles automatically open for 15 seconds, bathing players and their belongings in a sanitizing mist." When nobody is in the tunnel, the spraying turns off to save water and electricity.

Researchers from Israel's Bar-Ilan University came up with the invention, which uses electrolyzed water, a commonly used disinfectant. The scientists have also figured out a way to prolong the shelf life of the liquid. They have set up a tunnel at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv for the remainder of the soccer season to see how well it works in real-life situations.

Last year, Argentina and Uruguay played a friendly soccer match at Israel's Bloomfield Stadium. The arena is now how to a COVID-19 sanitizing booth at the entrance. Last year, Argentina and Uruguay played a friendly soccer match at Israel's Bloomfield Stadium. The arena is now home to a COVID-19 sanitizing booth at the entrance. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images)

RD Pack, an Israeli startup that specializes in creating automatic machines such as this one, held a press conference at the stadium earlier this week to show how it works. "Most people want to go through it. They feel much more secure," said RD Pack's Eran Druker. "We are not a cure for the coronavirus; we are fighting against its spread."

When filled to capacity, Bloomfield Stadium can seat up to 29,000 fans. In addition to Premier League soccer games, the stadium has also hosted musical acts such as The Black Eyed Peas, Barbra Streisand and Rihanna.

The pilot trial for the tunnel is expected to last a month. If proven successful, it may become a big part of the design at venues throughout Tokyo in 2021 when the Olympics resume next summer. In addition to sports arenas, RD Pack is also working to get their sanitary tunnel concept installed at hospitals, airports, schools and shopping malls.

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Sanitary tunnel sprays people with disinfectant to prevent the spread or coronavirus
The device is currently undergoing a trial at a soccer stadium in Israel.