At least 10 people died after allegedly consuming sanitiser as an alternative to liquor in a village under COVID-19 lockdown in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, the police said today. The victims of Kurichedu village had been drinking sanitiser for the past few days, mixing it with water and soft drinks, Prakasam district Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal said.
Two people died on Thursday night and the other eight this morning, the official, who visited the village where liquor outlets are closed since the past few days due to the extended COVID-19 lockdown, said.
“We are investigating whether the sanitiser had any other toxic content. We have sent the stocks for chemical analysis,” Mr Kaushal said.
He said illicitly-distilled arrack was not the cause behind the “sad incident.” Those who dies were alcohol addicted and its non-availability due to the lockdown in Kurichedu village made them to drink sanitiser that had alcoholic content, the police said.
Three beggars, rickshaw-pullers and hamalis (porters) were among those who died. Two beggars near a temple were the first to fall victim on Thursday night. While one of them was found dead at the spot, another died in the government hospital in nearby Darsi town, the police said. A third person was also taken to the Darsi hospital late on Thursday night after he fainted, but was declared brought dead.
<p>Another seven died this morning. Others who also complained of some health problems after drinking the sanitiser are undergoing treatment and out of danger, the police added.