In a shocking tragedy, nine people died in Andhra Pradesh after they consumed alcohol-based hand sanitiser, the police said. The incident took place in the Prakasam district two days ago in the Kurichedu town, with one person dying late on Wednesday night, followed by two others on Thursday night and six others on Friday morning.

Among the deceased, three are reported to be as beggars while the remaining men are local slum dwellers. A total of 20 persons are said to have consumed the hand sanitisers over the past two days, with the dead identified to be as Anugonda Srinu (25), Augustine (45), Bhogem Tirupataiah (35), Babu (40), Charles (45), Guntaka Rami Reddy (60), Kadiam Ramanaiah (28), Raja Reddy (65) and Ramanaiah (65).

According to reports, the police is said to have stated that the deceased persons had consumed the alcohol-based sanitisers as they could not get any liquor due to the lockdown imposed in Kurichedu due to curb the spread of the coronavirus. One beggar at the local Goddess Durga temple began experiencing a severe burning sensation in his stomach on Wednesday night, following which he passed away while being taken to the hospital. 

Two others also began experiencing stomach pain on Thursday morning and were taken to the government hospital at Darsi town by their family members and the locals, but passed away late at night. The remaining six died on Friday morning after being admitted in the hospital for similar complaints.

Reports state sanitisers from all local shops have since been confiscated by the police for lab tests and are currently investigating whether the victims consumed raw sanitiser or concocted it with spurious liquor. Lockdown has been in effect in Kurichedu and nearby areas over the past 10 days after a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. No liquor shop has been open and orders have been to shut them down since. The victims' family members told police that they had first fallen unconscious after they consumed the sanitiser. It is unknown as to the quantity of sanitiser each person is said to have consumed. 

Liquor shops in Andhra Pradesh were reopened on May 4 after the nation went into lockdown in late March. There were long queues witnessed outside the stores with the rates of the liquor also witnessing a huge hike. Less number of shops were opened in an aim to discourage people from drinking.