At least ten alcohol addicts, including three 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 incident happened in Kurichedu town. One person died late on Wednesday night and two others died on Thursday night. Six others also succumbed on Friday morning.
The deceased were identified as A. Srinu, 25, B. Tirupataiah, 37, G. Ramireddy, 60, Kadiam Ramnaiah, 29, Ramanaiah, 65, Rajireddy, 65, Babu, 40, Charles, 45, Augustine, 47. The 10th victim is yet to identified.
As the liquor shops in town and surrounding villages were closed for the last 10 days due to lockdown, they consumed sanitiser used for hand hygiene.
The deceased include three beggars. Two of them who used to beg at a local temple complained of severe burning sensation in their stomachs on Thursday night. While a man died instantaneously, another was shifted to a hospital at Darsi where he succumbed while undergoing treatment.
Another 28-year-old man, who had consumed country made liquor mixed with sanitizer, also fell unconscious at his home. He died while being shifted to the hospital.
Six more were rushed to hospital in the early hours of Friday and they all succumbed to their condition. Police were trying to find out if more people were brought to hospital with similar complaints.
Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal ordered a probe into the incident. He said sanitizers were seized from shops in the area and sent for chemical analysis.
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Police were trying to ascertain if the victims were using only sanitizers or mixing it with some other chemicals.
Due to lockdown in Kurichedu and surrounding villages in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases, liquor shops were closed for the last 10 days.