Nine people have died in India in the last two days from drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizer after liquor shops in their town were closed due to coronavirus restrictions, police said Friday. While seven persons died Friday morning, three died over the past two days at Darsi Government Hospital where they were admitted after complaints of severe stomach ache and vomiting.
Kurichedu is now under lockdown due to spurt in coronavirus cases and as such the liquor vends are also shut for the past few days.
The incident took place in Kurichedu town, and the police said that the deceased had been drinking sanitiser, either mixed with alcohol or water, for at least the past week.
District superintendent of police Siddhartha Kaushal told local media that sanitisers from all local shops were seized for lab tests.
He added that they had sent samples of the sanitiser away for chemical analysis.
Fourteen persons died after consuming hand sanitiser in COVID-19 hotspots of Kurichedu and Pamur in Prakasam district. "Alcohol is not available because of the lockdown, but hand sanitizers are easily available".
The federal government has allowed the reopening of most economic activities to try to stave off financial disaster.
However, many states are continuing to enforce lockdowns in specific areas as clusters of the virus emerge. While the overall rate for India has increased threefold over a month, the increase in Andhra Pradesh is ninefold. According to district police, the victims who belonged to Kurichedu village were aged between 35 to 65 and majority happen to be beggars.
Over the past 24 hours, three districts of East Godavari (1,441), Kurnool (1,252) and Visakhapatnam (1,223) reported new cases in four-digits, while the rest 10 districts recorded new Covid positive cases in three-digits.