The Covid-19 pandemic has put the cleaning industry in a stronger position to fight infectious disease outbreaks of all kinds, according to the chief executive of a specialist soft services firm.
Steve Broughton, founder and CEO of SafeGroup Services, made the comments after health secretary Matt Hancock told a parliamentary committee of MPs that the mass testing system set up to tackle COVID-19 could continue to be used to tackle other deadly diseases.
Hancock wants to fundamentally change the way illness is identified and intervene early to treat it early and prevent the suffering and cost associated with serious disease.
Steve Broughton said: "I could immediately see how the cleaning industry can support his vision. We can help organisations across the UK create healthier and happier environments for staff, customers and the wider public.
"Mr Hancock's vision acknowledges COVID-19 is likely to have changed our attitude to infection for good. Early intervention to prevent serious illness will have to go hand-in-hand with more intensive disinfection in workplaces and public spaces. This will be a job for a transformed cleaning industry."
Broughton added: "This new approach will have to operate in tandem with other changes to everyday practice, also triggered by COVID-19. One of them our approach to hygiene and cleaning. New standards of disinfection are very likely to be maintained."
As a national emergency soft FM service provider, SafeGroup has been tackling COVID-19 through cleaning and disinfection.
"Our experience tells me the reassurance provided by effective disinfection cleaning will be vital to our continued recovery from COVID-19 especially for encouraging people back to offices and other high functioning workplaces.
SafeGroup Services is now working with national retailers to support the reopening of stores.
"I believe, the pandemic has changed our attitudes to hygiene, probably for good. Which is why more intensive cleaning is here to stay. Matt Hancock's vision for preventing illness adds weight to my conviction.
"Employees, customers and the public in general will demand cleaner, more hygienic spaces. A pivot towards mass testing for illness, for example for flu, using the NHS's new capabilities will only embed that trend more deeply."