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COVID-19: Nine Die In India After Drinking Hand-Sanitiser

Police officials use hand sanitiser after stopping Activists of Congress Party trying to break police barricades in front of the Raj Bhavan (Governor's House) during a protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led central government and state Governors, in Kolkata on July 27, 2020. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
An Indian official uses a hand sanitiser on July 27, 2020. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP



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 “high quantity” of hand sanitiser mixed with water or soda, Siddharth Kaushal, police superintendent for Kurichedu town in Andhra Pradesh state told AFP.

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

The group turned to hand sanitiser “as a substitute” 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.

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

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

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



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