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.
They lost consciousness after consuming "a large amount" of hand sanitizer mixed with water or soda, said Siddharth Kaushal, police commissioner of the city of Kurichedu, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
They were rushed to hospital and declared dead on arrival, he added.
Adulterated alcohol kills hundreds of people every year
The group had turned to hydroalcoholic gel as a "substitute" for alcoholic beverages, as the supply ceased when authorities imposed lockdown in the city to combat the Covid-19 epidemic.
Hundreds of poor people die every year in India after consuming adulterated alcohol.
Coronavirus: low-cost coffins for the poor of New Delhi
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.
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On Friday, the death toll from Covid-19 stood at more than 35,740 deaths in India.