TOKYO (TR) – The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has said that strong alcoholic drinks will be allowed to be used in place of sanitizing solutions.
The decision comes as medical institutions have struggled with a shortfall of sanitizers due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports NHK (Apr. 13).
The ministry has starting informing institutions that drinks produced by beverage makers whose alcohol content is high can be used as substitutes when conventional hand sanitizers cannot be located.
Beverages containing an alcohol content ranging between 70 and 83 percent, such as some types of vodka, can be used, the ministry said.
The ministry cautioned that beverages with alcohol content higher than 83 percent have a reduced ability to be used as sanitizers. It also said that the drinks should be diluted before being applied.
A ministry official said, “This is a special measure mainly to eliminate the shortage of disinfectants at medical institutions. In households, we want [people] to continue focusing on hand washing [to reduce the spread of the coronavirus].”
In a separate effort, some beverage makers are already producing sanitizers to also make up for the shortfall.
According to data from the ministry, the number of coronavirus infections in Japan stood at 8,150 as of Monday afternoon.