Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizer

Havana Distillery, which used to produce alcohol for pharmaceutical and liquor industries, has turned into the only manual maker and distributor of hand sanitizers in Cuba amid a rising COVID-19 caseload nationwide.

“Antibacterial gels are very useful to tackle the epidemic outbreak on the island. We are producing 1,020 liters of hand sanitizers a day,” said Margarita La Guardia, a senior specialist at the company. “The country needs us.”

Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health reported the first death from the novel coronavirus on Saturday, and raised the total to 119 cases in the country.

Amid U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Carribean nation, hand sanitizer is manually made at the factory by only five workers who have gained expertise over the last years, after the production first started in the country in 2010.

“Production of hand sanitizers in Cuba is mainly supplying hospitals and polyclinics during the health emergency provoked by the virus,” said Mercedes Delgado, head of the company. “We are working restlessly.”

The distillery is projected to deliver 145,000 liters of hand sanitizers by the end of this year, so that they can also reach schools and workplaces across the country.

“We start working very early in the morning and come back home by sunset,” said Reinaldo Joglar, a worker at the company.

Pedro Martinez, a senior official at Tecnoazucar, the parent company of the distillery, said the hand sanitizers manufactured in Cuba are in line with the standard of the World Health Organization.

“The brigades of doctors Cuba has sent overseas to help fight COVID-19 are taking our hand sanitizers as part of their medical kits. We feel very proud of that,” he said.

U.S. blockade on the island for nearly six decades has severely affected the development of the island’s industrial sector, hindering access of Cuban companies to the state-of-the-art technologies. Enditem

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