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Bali’s Miracle: Island Turns Wine Into Hand Sanitizer

The Indonesian holiday island of Bali is experiencing a shortage of anti-coronavirus hand sanitizer and pharmacists are tackling the problem by making it from thousands of litres of fermented palm wine.

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The idea was the brainchild of Bali police chief Petrus Reinhard Golose, who says he was alarmed that supplies of alcohol-based disinfectant were in short supply while prices soared for what was left on the market.

Golose rustled up some 4,000 litres of the popular, potent beverage also known as arak by asking local manufacturers to donate from their stocks, with the force also dipping into its own funds to buy up extra supplies.

Staff at Bali’s Udayana University were then tasked with turning the wine into a handwash that could protect against the coronavirus.

Within a week, they had managed to produce a disinfectant with a 96 per cent alcohol content to meet WHO standards, according to the university.

Some clove and mint oil were added to the mixture to reduce hand irritation.

“So far we’ve produced 10,600 bottles of hand sanitizer using arak and Bali police have given them out to people in need,” Dewa Ayu Swastini, head of the university’s pharmaceutical faculty, told AFP on Wednesday.

Bali has reported 49 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 2 deaths.

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