INEOS, the principle partner of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, is to mass produce bottles of hand sanitiser to help the relief effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

As one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, INEOS is to construct two purpose-built plants near Middlesbrough in the United Kingdom and Germany within the next 10 days to produce one million bottles of hand sanitiser per month to help combat the coronavirus pandemic amid a critical shortage of hand sanitisers across Europe.

INEOS will provide free issue product - which will be produced in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) specifications - for hospitals and the NHS in the UK, as well as supplying schools, places of work, pharmacies and supermarkets across Europe.

“INEOS intends to produce both standard and the increasingly popular “pocket bottle” hand sanitisers and is already talking to retail outlets across Europe,” an INEOS statement read.

“Supplies to NHS hospitals will be free of charge for the period of the crisis with the public being able to purchase bottles through retailers.

“INEOS takes its corporate and social responsibilities extremely seriously, its products are essential to the production of essential healthcare products from rubber gloves, to PVC saline drips, syringes, ventilators, medical tubing.

“Its products purify the public drinking water. It produces raw materials for soap, acetone for aspirin and paracetamol, and its phenol is being used in pharmaceutical analysis essential in procedures necessary to find a vaccine.”

INEOS founder and chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that hand to mouth infection is a significant cause of Corona virus contagion and INEOS is Europe’s largest manufacturer of the core ingredient of hand sanitiser.

“We will build two factories in the UK and Germany in 10 days to produce very substantial supplies.

“INEOS is a company with enormous resources and manufacturing skills,” he added.

“If we can find other ways to help in the coronavirus battle, we are absolutely committed to playing our part.”

All seven UK-based F1 teams are currently exploring ways to aid government and health authorities in the fight against coronavirus by supplying much-needed ventilators amid a worldwide shortage.