Beverage maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday it will start providing alcohol disinfectants free of charge from later this month to hospitals to help address the shortage caused by the new coronavirus outbreak.

A sprits-making subsidiary in Osaka, Suntory Spirits Ltd., will produce alcohol distilled at 95 percent content for hospitals and nursing homes, although it is still examining how much it can offer.

[Supplied photo]

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The move comes after Japan's health ministry eased regulations to approve the use of drinks with high alcohol content and high-concentration ethanol for industrial use for washing hands and fingers at medical and elderly facilities.

"We want to cooperate even a little at a time when demand and supply are tight for rubbing alcohol," a Suntory spokesperson said.

Its U.S. group company, Beam Suntory Inc., is already producing hand sanitizers at its plant in Kentucky to provide to local health and emergency services.