In the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic, Switzerland’s penchant for preparing for an emergency has made it praised.
During the Cold War, the Swiss government required that family homes have bunkers and instruct residents to hoard food. Even today, residents are given advice on what supplies they must have to overcome the crisis at home.
But because the demand for alcohol used to make hand sanitizers has surged in the midst of a crisis, Switzerland faces a possible shortage after leaving ethanol reserves in 2018.
Daily Tages-Anzeiger reports that an inventory of 8,000 tons to 10,000 tons of ethanol for disinfectants if the pandemic is eliminated two years ago amid efforts to privatize the national alcohol market.
The decision contributed to the lack of disinfectant products including hand sanitizers. As in many countries, products disappeared from Swiss store shelves last week.
Now the private industry from refineries to Swiss perfume producers, Givaudan, issues alcohol-based gels to try and meet consumer needs.
“It is impossible for important raw materials such as alcohol to suddenly disappear in a pandemic situation,” Swiss federal politician and Christian Democratic Party member Alois Gmuer told Tages-Anzeiger.
“But unfortunately that fits the picture: The federal government has clearly ignored crisis preparedness,” he said.
The Swiss Federal Office for National Economic Supply, which is responsible for supplies, did not immediately comment on Bloomberg.
A government spokesman told Tages-Anzeiger that after liberalizing the alcohol market in 2018, the government wanted to give industry participants time before discussing plans to renew supplies. The discussion should have been held this year, but now the corona virus has intervened.
In the name of emergency preparedness, Switzerland has previously hoarded important products including tobacco and metal screws.
Caffeine addicts in Switzerland struggle when the government declares that coffee supply is not mandatory in 2019.
The government also holds supplies of antibiotics, vaccines, rice, insulin and heating oil.
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