Irving Oil to produce hand sanitizer during coronavirus pandemic

Staff at Irving Oil. Irving Oil/Twitter

As the demand for hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise, Irving Oil announced that it will retool its blending and packaging facility in Saint John, N.B. to add hand sanitizer to the production line.

“We’re all in this together,” the company tweeted on Tuesday.

“We’re proud to share our technology to help the fight against COVID-19.”

Irving Oil is one of the many companies across the country that are now being asked by the federal government to produce medical supplies, including hundreds of ventilators, as part of Canada’s battle to gather desperately-needed equipment in the fight against COVID-19.

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“Across our company, our teams are working hard to continue to respond to the essential needs of our communities during this challenging time,” Irving Oil said in a written statement sent to Global News.

The federal government has signed contracts with multiple companies, and as of recently, also signed letters of intent with five companies — Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group Ltd., Irving Oil, Calko Group and Stanfield’s — to produce additional test kits, hand sanitizer and protective apparel including masks and gown.

“We are appreciative of the efforts of our Irving Oil team in making this opportunity possible and also of the federal government, which assisted in this endeavor, including expediting the Health Canada approval process. Together, we are making a difference in our communities,” Irving Oil said.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

— With files from Andrew Russell

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