After face masks, Lalitpur now plans to manufacture its own hand sanitisersNAST scientists say they are going to teach ward residents ways to make hand sanitisers locally.
With local demand for hand sanitisers far outstripping the supply, the Lalitpur Metropolitan City has tied up with the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology to manufacture its own hand sanitisers, the city officials said on Friday.
The move is yet another proactive measure taken by the city to combat the transmission of Covid-19, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization earlier this week. The city had previously announced a drive to manufacture cloth face masks that will be available for Rs5 to 7, well below the cost of other masks.
“We want to make our city self-sustaining in hand sanitisers and masks. The academy has already trained two of our officials, and now the scientists from the NAST will be going to each ward to teach people how to make hand sanitisers,” said Lalitpur Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan.
The city officials said beginning Sunday, the trainers from NAST are going to visit all 29 wards of the city to teach people how to manufacture home-made hand sanitisers by distilling local alcohol.
Raju Maharjan, spokesperson for the city, said they have already got a sample of the sanitiser made from homemade alcohol from the NAST. “We have got a sample and it works well,” said Maharjan.
According to the World Health Organization, in the past two weeks, the number of cases of Covid-19 outside China has increased 13 times.
The WHO report shows the novel coronavirus has infected more than 132,500 people in 126 countries, and killed nearly 5,000 globally, since China reported the disease in December 2019.
Dr Sajan Lal Shyaula, senior scientist at NAST, said the academy was volunteering to help the city manufacture its own hand sanitisers.
“We are going to teach the locals the technique of making hand sanitisers from local alcohol,” he said.
The hand sanitiser manufactured by the city will contain 75-80 percent alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerol and distilled water.
The city’s spokesperson Maharjan also said that from each ward, two persons will be trained to make sanitisers. “From Sunday, we will be training people from Ward 1 to Ward 5. We will complete the training within four days.”
However, the city is undecided on the volume of hand sanitiser it will be producing. “We will produce as per the demand. We are yet to fix the price. We are having our board meeting on Saturday and that will decide the price. It will be minimal,” said Maharjan.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of March 31, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. As of Wednesday, Covid-19 had spread to 199 countries and infected more than 8,07,705 people with 39,456 deaths. In South Asia, Pakistan has reported the highest number of infections at 1,865 with 25 deaths. While India has reported 1,251 confirmed cases with 32 deaths. Nepal has so far reported five cases, in which one patient recovered.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.