Nine people have died in southeast India after drinking hydroalcoholic gel instead of their usual drink, with liquor stores closed as part of the pandemic measures, police said on Friday.
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They lost consciousness after consuming “a large amount” of hand sanitizer mixed with water or soda, Siddharth Kaushal, police commissioner of the city of Kurichedu, in the state of Kaushal, told AFP. Andhra Pradesh.
They were rushed to hospital and declared dead on arrival, he added.
The group had turned to hydroalcoholic gel as a “substitute” for alcoholic beverages, with the supply ceasing when authorities imposed lockdown in the city to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hundreds of people die every year in India after consuming adulterated alcohol.
Traffickers often add methanol, a highly toxic product commonly used as an antifreeze or fuel, to their contraband alcoholic beverages in order to increase their alcohol content.
The death toll from COVID-19 stood at more than 35,740 in India on Friday.