The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has said it is open to working with a north GP seeking to address a shortage in hand sanitiser.
The commitment comes after Beauly-based GP Dr Ross Jaffrey highlighted the need for urgent action in the coming weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak across the Highlands.
Dr Jaffrey has taken it upon himself to try and source ingredients to create hand sanitiser as part of a bid to encourage behavioural change in communities to ensure Highlanders are best protected against the virus.
Dr Jaffrey said: “Washing hands and cleaning surfaces is really our main defence against transmission and we have got a chance here to kind of slow things down.
“We have a situation where there is a complete lack of hand sanitiser.
“We need to address this shortage and I have been trying to work with the whisky industry.
“You have got carers going into elderly people inadequately prepared to reduce their chances of transmitting.
“By producing sanitiser and promoting best practice we can change that.”
The Croyard Medical Practice GP is also pushing for areas with large footfall, such as farm shops, to introduce sanitising stations at entry and exit points.
It comes after he warned he believes the next two to three weeks are “crucial” if the Highlands is to ease the impact of the potentially deadly virus on its residents.
The SWA has now said it is open to working with the Beauly GP following his plea.
A spokesman said: “A fortnight ago the SWA launched an online portal to help with the supply of hand sanitiser to health and social services, emergency services, local communities and other industries in need of it across the UK.
“In doing so, our industry is keen to play its full role in fighting the coronavirus, and the Portal has so far made a number of connections between those who can supply hand sanitiser, and those who need it.
“Over the next two months, the industry is providing over 12 million litres of ethanol for the production of more than 50 million bottles of hand sanitiser for use by frontline health services in the UK.
“This is in addition to the hand sanitiser that many distilleries are producing to support local communities, local care homes, Councils and key services.”
The spokesman added that demand is currently at a very high level with distillers “responding accordingly”.