COVID-19: Nine dies after ‘drinking hand sanitizer’ in India


Nine people have died in India from drinking alcohol-based hand sanitiser after liquor shops in their town were closed due to virus restrictions, police said Friday.

The group lost consciousness after consuming a โ€œhigh quantityโ€ of hand sanitiser mixed with water or soda, Siddharth Kaushal, police superintendent for Kurichedu town in Andhra Pradesh state told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

They were rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival, he said.

The group turned to hand sanitiser โ€œas a substituteโ€ for liquor after supplies were cut off when authorities ordered a lockdown of the town to combat the coronavirus, he added.

An investigation into the nine deaths has been launched, he said.

Hundreds of poor people die every year in India due to alcohol poisoning, mostly from consuming cheap hooch.

An Indian official uses a hand sanitiser on July 27, 2020. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Bootleggers often add methanol โ€” a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an anti-freeze or fuel โ€” to their home-brew liquor to increase the alcoholic content.

The deaths in Kurichedu occurred shortly before Indiaโ€™s coronavirus death toll passed 35,000 on Friday, overtaking that of Italy.

Total infections in the worldโ€™s second-most populous country are now 1.63 million, surpassed only by the US and Brazil, both of which have much smaller populations.