Gin to disinfectant: Belgian distillery joins fight against coronavirus

By Bart Biesemans and Jeremy Audouard WICHELEN, Belgium (Reuters) - A Belgian distillery has switched from producing gin to disinfectants after medical authorities sought additional supplies to cope with coronavirus spreading in the country. The Belgian government said on Friday it would provide 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) urgently to help hospitals face the crisis, with 2,257 cases confirmed so far and 37 deaths recorded. In the town of Wichelen, the Rubbens distillery decided to play its part: it started treating the alcohol that normally goes into gin and genever - a juniper-flavoured liquor - with ether, producing a disinfectant liquid for hands and surfaces

Reuters March 21, 2020 00:06:09 IST
Gin to disinfectant: Belgian distillery joins fight against coronavirus

coronavirus " src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/03-2020/21/2020-03-20T171259Z_1_LYNXMPEG2J1TY_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-BELGIUM-ALCOHOL.jpg" alt="Gin to disinfectant Belgian distillery joins fight against coronavirus " width="300" height="225" />

By Bart Biesemans and Jeremy Audouard

WICHELEN, Belgium (Reuters) - A Belgian distillery has switched from producing gin to disinfectants after medical authorities sought additional supplies to cope with coronavirus spreading in the country.

The Belgian government said on Friday it would provide 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) urgently to help hospitals face the crisis, with 2,257 cases confirmed so far and 37 deaths recorded.

In the town of Wichelen, the Rubbens distillery decided to play its part: it started treating the alcohol that normally goes into gin and genever - a juniper-flavoured liquor - with ether, producing a disinfectant liquid for hands and surfaces.

"Hospitals started calling us to ask if we had alcohol," said the company's manager, Hendrik Beck. "Last week, we were bottling gin. Now, we're filling up disinfectant alcohol. It's pretty unreal for us, but we are happy to help out people."

Rubbens normally produces around 4,000 litres of liquors a day - now, it's 10,000 litres of the disinfectant instead.

As the country went into a lockdown to try contain the disease, Beck said the distillery was among the many businesses hit, and selling the newly made liquid went only some way to offset the damage.

"Our company is suffering economic losses - our bar and restaurant are closed, and our clients are also affected a lot," he said. "We can compensate for this a bit now, but we wouldn't want anything else but for everything to go back to normal."

The Belgians are not alone. LVMH, the conglomerate behind Louis Vuitton, has said perfume factories in France, which normally turn out fragrances and cosmetics for Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy, would start producing sanitiser gel to be distributed free to hospitals and health workers.

(Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth
India

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth

Danish's photographs were not just documentation, but the work of someone who went down to eye-level, as they say in photographic parlance.

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations
World

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria
World

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.