This is part 11 of our coronavirus FAQ. Click here to read the other installments: #Coronavirus the facts. Find the latest information and answers from experts on everything COVID-19.
Is it OK to use strong alcoholic drinks as a substitute for sanitizer?
Japan's health ministry has decided to allow the use of strong alcoholic drinks as a substitute for sanitizer to make up for supply shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is in response to calls from medical institutions and care homes that have been struggling to obtain alcohol-based sanitizers.
The ministry told these facilities in April that drinks with high alcohol content produced by beverage makers can be used if they can't find proper sanitizer. Drinks with an alcohol content of between 70 and 83 percent can be used. Some vodkas fall in this category. Ministry officials say drinks with a higher alcohol content than that are actually worse at sanitizing and should be diluted.
The ministry officials stress that this is an exceptional measure to address sanitizer shortages mainly at medical institutions. They are calling on the public to continue with careful hand-washing at home to prevent the spread of infections.
The data presented here are correct as of April 27.