Andhra Pradesh police on Monday identified as many as 235 persons in the Prakasam district for consuming alcohol-based sanitisers due to the non-availability of liquor in the wake of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It is to be noted that 16 people died in the district's Kurichedu mandal after consuming sanitiser due to lack of alcohol. 

Addressing the media, SP Siddharth Kaushal said the police identified 35 persons on Monday and another 200 for consuming sanitisers. He added that the police are currently running an inquiry to identify more such people. He said counseling is being given to these people about the dangers involved in consuming sanitisers. 

Liquor shops in areas like Kurichedu, Darsi and Vinukonda have remained closed as they are currently containment zones, owing to the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Henceforth, several people, who already are addicted to alcohol, had begun consuming sanitisers due to non-availability of liquor.

Several police personnel teams led by Kaushal have been going from door-to-door in the three mandals informing about the dangers that come upon drinking sanitisers, while also making attempts to identify if anybody else is still consuming them. It is to be noted that a large number of used and unused sanitiser bottles were confiscated during their operations. 

The SP said that until a few days back some liquor shops would remain open in certain areas in case outlets elsewhere were closed. However, due to the coronavirus lockdown, shops in these three mandals have been ordered to be shut down. The area is known to be one with a large number of liquor addicts and a beggar had reportedly suggested they consume sanitisers due to the non-availability of alcohol. 

The police are actively counseling these people on how consuming sanitiser filled with harmful chemicals can lead to their death. Many who passed away due to this have been revealed to be extremely poor daily-wagers, beggars or labourers. 

Officials have informed that a 'sanitiser party' had been organized in Kurichedu last week on July 29, which led to two persons succumbing to their deaths. A special investigation team has also been set up to probe into the deaths that occurred in Kurichedu as well as conduct a crackdown on the availability and sale of cheap sanitisers in large numbers.