Amaravati: At least ten alleged alcohol addicts, three of whom are beggars, died after allegedly consuming sanitiser as an alternative to liquor in a village under COVID-19 lockdown in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, police said on Friday.
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 told PTI over the phone.
Two people died on Thursday night and the other eight since Friday morning, the SP, who visited the village where liquor outlets were closed for 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,” Kaushal said.
The SP said illicitly-distilled arrack was not involved in the “sad incident”.
The deceased were highly addicted to alcohol and its non- availability due to extended COVID-19 lockdown in Kurichedu forced them to go for the alcohol-based sanitiser, police said.
Apart from the beggars, the other deceased were poor rickshaw pullers and hamalis, who had a hand-to-mouth existence.
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. However, he was declared dead.
Another seven, who fell ill after allegedly consuming sanitiser, died on Friday.
A couple of other people, who also complained of some health problems after drinking sanitiser, were undergoing treatment and are out of danger, the police added.
There have been isolated incidents of habitual tipplers falling ill and dying in some cases after consuming sanitisers in some parts of the country since the nation-wide lockdown came into force and resulted in the non-availability of liquor.