Using a hand sanitiser. Diageo will donate over a million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners to produce hand sanitisers. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Using a hand sanitiser. Frontline health workers and those at risk of contracting the disease in Nairobi and Kisumu will receive hand sanitisers to protect them. [Photo/Lifehacker Australia]

Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker & Smirnoff, has pledged to enable the creation of more than five million bottles of hand sanitiser.

This plan will be achieved by donating over a million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners, to help protect front-line healthcare workers in the fight against the covid-19 coronavirus. 

The world’s leading distiller will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in the production of vodka and gin – and make it available at no cost to hand sanitiser producers, to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems.

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This donation will enable the production of more than five million 250ml bottles of hand sanitiser. 

Diageo continues to engage with national and local governments across the many countries where the company has major distilling operations.

The spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances, working with the relevant authorities and hand sanitiser manufacturers. This will ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitiser reaches the front-line as quickly as possible. 

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In Kenya, Diageo’s East Africa Breweries Ltd will provide 100,000 litres of ethanol to supply to a local sanitiser manufacturer for the production of the sanitisers. 

The plan includes the UK and the Republic of Ireland which will receive 500,000 litres of GNS, North America: 250,000 litres, Brazil: Diageo’s Ypioca plant will produce 200,000 litres of spirit for the local health care system, in conjunction with the Ceara State Government and in Australia, Diageo’s Bundaberg rum distillery will produce 100,000 litres of ethanol to the Queensland Government, to be forwarded to hand sanitiser manufacturers. 

“Health care workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Ivan Menezes, Diageo Chief Executive.

“This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for sanitiser around the world.”

Last week, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua ordered government agencies clinging on to any impounded ethanol to hand it over to the Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) who will then work in sync with select private oil producers in the country who have pledged to channel their resources to making the free sanitizers.

“KPC will utilize an accountability framework for the manufacture and distribution of the sanitizers,” said Kinyua, a former Treasury Permanent Secretary.

Public health officials have advised Kenyans to wash their hands regularly to contain the spread of the virus. The disease is caused by the transfer of droplets from one infected person to another uninfected person.

Experts globally have advised people to avoid touching their faces, especially with unwashed hands.

Kenyans have already been advised to maintain social distances at all times but that has done little to stop the spread of the virus with the country reporting new cases regularly since the first one was reported.

There are fears that there are more cases waiting to be reported following the breaching of self-quarantine regulations by people travelling into the country.

Last weekend, Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi and a Rome-based Catholic priest were among those who defied the regulations and interacted with the masses despite having been to the disease hotspots.

The government has said that any person who endangers the lives of Kenyans will be prosecuted even after recovery in case they have tested covid-19 positive.

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