Taiwan FamilyMart starts selling 75% alcohol to battle Wuhan virus

Bottles of 75% alcohol now available at FamilyMart stores across Taiwan

Bottles of 75% alcohol. 

Bottles of 75% alcohol.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the panic buying of face masks and disinfectants out of fear of the Wuhan coronavirus continues to grip Taiwan, convenience store chain FamilyMart began sales of 75 percent alcohol on Wednesday (Feb. 19).

At 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, FamilyMart stores across Taiwan commenced sales of bottles of 75 percent alcohol produced by Taiwan Sugar Corporation (Taisugar, TSC). However, Taisugar clarified that only five bottles will be sold per day at each shop and that each customer will be limited to one bottle while supplies last.

Taisugar said that since the transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can take place through contact with surfaces that contain the virus, frequent handwashing and disinfection are important ways to prevent the spread of the disease. It said that the use of 75 percent alcohol can achieve the effect of thorough cleaning and exhorted people to buy just enough for their own needs and not hoard the product.

Li Fu-an (李福安), deputy executive director of the marketing business department of Taisugar, pointed out that the alcohol concentration of the company's rubbing alcohol is usually 95 percent and comes in 500 ml bottles, reported Liberty Times. However, in order to meet the massive increased demand for disinfectants amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has produced a 75 percent version in 350 ml bottles that sell for NT$45 (US$1.49) each.

According to Li, the company can produce 17,280 bottles per day. Given that there are about 3,600 FamilyMart stores across Taiwan, Li estimated that each store can sell about five bottles per day.

In addition, the Taiwan Pharmacist Association (TPA) announced Monday (Feb. 17) that more than 6,000 National Health Insurance-appointed pharmacies will begin selling bottles of 75 percent alcohol this week. TPA Chairman Huang Chin-shun (黃金舜) said that the rubbing alcohol will come in 300-ml bottles and be sold at NT$40 each.