Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. (File photo)
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. (File photo)

Cleaning hands with soaps and hand wash can keep you safe from COVID-19: Dr Harsh Vardhan

ANI | Updated: Mar 06, 2020 23:03 IST

By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Amid the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday said that even a hand wash and soaps can be used to clean hands following good standard of hand hygiene as a preventive measure to keep away the respiratory viral illness.
Dr Harsh Vardhan issued a strict warning to those chemists/pharmacists who are stocking up hand-sanitisers, face masks and selling them at a huge price and exploiting customers.
As of now, at least 31 positive confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been detected in India. This includes 16 Italian nationals.
The latest case has been reported from Delhi. The person who has tested positive for COVID-19 has a travel history of Thailand and Malaysia. The patient is in hospital quarantine and stable.

In an interview with ANI, Dr Harsh Vardhan said: "We have got the information that people are facing unavailability of face masks and hand-sanitizers at the medical shops. However, if a person does not get a hand sanitizer, they can use hand wash or soap to clean hands for at least 30-40 seconds. They should clean hands multiple times a day if they are outside, at work or are involved in physical activity. Also, strict action would be taken against those shopkeepers/pharmacists who are stocking hand sanitisers, selling at a higher price and exploiting people."
"To fight with coronavirus, we just need to educate people on hygiene standards. It is advisable to all those who have low immunity, coughing and sneezing problems should cover their mouth with a mask and keep a distance with other people so that their mouth droplets do not infect other people. People should not panic as every healthy person is not advised to wear masks. Simple hand hygiene by cleaning hands multiple times can work to curtail the spread of the disease."
Govind Pathak, 48, a manager at Bhutani Medicos said: "We do not have a single piece of hand-sanitizer and face mask left amid COVID crisis in Delhi and across the nation. In the last 24 hours, our entire stock got finished. We have placed an order to the distributors but they are not getting it in adequate quantity."
Echoing similar views, Rajeev Narang, owner of Ambey Medicos outside AIIMS said: "In the last two days, demand for hand sanitisers and face masks have gone up exponentially. Even if we get 2000 pieces of sanitizers and face masks it would be less looking at the demand right now. We have sold over 300 hand sanitizers which were in our stock. We have placed an order and are awaiting its delivery soon. As of now, we are left with handwashes and soaps only."
When contacted Dr Vikas Maurya, Head of Respiratory Medicine Department at Fortis Hospital, said that sanitizers and handwashes have similar properties to kill the germs. "The difference is only that hand sanitizers contain alcohol and do not require water while soaps and handwash have ingredients like hard chemicals that kill germs and require water." (ANI)