Leicester anti-bacterial firm switches to making hand sanitiser due to coronavirus panic buying

by Molly Kerridge

A firm in Leicester that produces an anti-bacterial chemical has started to create hand sanitiser to meet the demands during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Micro-Fresh normally manufactures a liquid that can be added to products to prevent odour and pathogenic bacteria.

The company decided to switch to making a 66% alcohol hand sanitizer for retailers after they received “inundated requests”.

Due to the demand for the product, the firm hopes to employ a further 20 people, as it currently has only 12 employees.

Jigna Varu, from Micro-Fresh, said the firm first produced a sample of 2,000 litres last Friday (MAR13) and now have another 10,000 litres to order.

Ms Varu said: “Coronavirus has made people more aware now about bacteria and viruses on surfaces and around us.

“The pandemic feels like a dream, but there is no need to panic buy.

“There’s a lot of community spirit in Leicester – customers have offered to help us produce the sanitiser to manage the demand.”

Ms Varu explained the hand sanitiser requests came after a demand for high alcohol content aerosol sprays for businesses and schools to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

She said: “Once it is sprayed in the room you get an anti-bacterial coating on any surface – desks, telephones, all areas where you get high volumes of bacteria.”

DMU Malayalee society awaiting approval

By Isobel Rix

The Malayalee society, made up of students from De Montfort University, has been running since 2019, but they are yet to receive official recognition as an established society.

The Malayalee people originate in the south Indian state of Kerala. Currently the university society has around 100 members, most of which are second generation Malayalees who meet to celebrate their culture.

President of the Malayalee society, Levitha Baji, a DMU Broadcast Journalism student, said: “There’s a lot of Malayalees in DMU and University of Leicester, it’s a great way to bring the culture back together.

“Because we’re all second-generation kids our parents are all really strict, so they don’t know half the stuff we get up to. We can all just relate to each other and speak the language, Malayalam.

“If we need anything or anything happens we know that we’ve got each other.”

The society has already held several events.

Levitha said: “We have a football tournament, play badminton, we’ve had games nights, get to know me gatherings and Malayalee nights out.”

Members of the Malayalee society at a meetup.

The society also has a great relationship with the Tamil society.

Levitha said: “Tamils and Malaylees are really similar, they’re basically in the state next to us.

“The language is a little bit different but it’s not too different so if we need anything, they’ll support us and if they need anything, we’ll support them.”

Due to the society not being confirmed by DMU they cannot book rooms for events and do not receive any funding.

Levitha said: “Tamil society actually has to book out rooms for us, it’s a bit annoying.

“We have a committee and everything with a president, secretary, treasurer but if we want to put it on our CVs, there’s no paperwork to prove it.

“Because there isn’t funding, we have to put in money from our own pockets. At the games night there was traditional Indian food, so I had to put the money in first and we charged everyone £2.”

The group have paired up with Malayalee students from the University of Leicester, who have a university approved society.

The society hopes to put on an end of year ball and dinner, but without funding it is unlikely they could afford a deposit.

“If people didn’t turn up our money would be flushed away basically,” Levitha said.

Update on CEM Placement Team during coronavirus shutdown

By Oliver Taylor

The CEM Placement Team at De Montfort University will work remotely to continue to offer students support and guidance while the university is shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For students seeking or having secured a one-year placement or summer placement, the following services are available via emailing cemplacements@dmu.ac.uk:

• CV/Cover letter guidance
• Application form guidance
• Interview guidance, including telephone, video and presentation
• General enquiries about the placement

The deadline for home students to apply for a placement year is the end of the September, while the deadline for international students is June 30.

Foxes 'keeper donates to Leicester charity

By James Wynn

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has made a £20,000 donation to Leicestershire’s branch of Age UK.

It emerged that Schmeichel, 33, had made the donation because of a tweet from the charity.

Age UK’s Leicestershire & Rutland branch recently launched a campaign to help elderly and vulnerable people throughout the region in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The amazing @kschmeichel1 has donated a huge £20,000 to our #LeicsCovidCare campaign to buy care packages, phone calls and home visits to keep older people safe and well,” the branch said.

Schmeichel replied to the tweet, saying: “Now more than ever charities like @age_uk need our help.”

“Let’s do all we can to protect our elderly.”

Age UK finalised their tweet thanking Schmeichel by saying: “Please join him to keep older people safe and well by donating.”

With the rapid spread of coronavirus this month, over-70s are being encouraged to remain at home and avoid unnecessary contact with people for 12 weeks.

The City Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, said on Thursday (March 19) that the city had had five confirmed cases of the virus, and admitted the number was probably much higher due to the lack of testing equipment available.

The elderly are at the highest risk of the virus, with most of the 144 people to die due to the virus in the UK being over 70.

Schmeichel himself has had close contact with the virus, after it emerged last week that three Leicester City players were self-isolating after showing symptoms of the virus.

Football has been suspended across the UK and the Foxes will not return to action until April 30 at the earliest.

City welcome decision to postpone season

By James Wynn

Leicester City have said they welcome the decision to extend the suspension of the 2019-20 football season to April 30 at least.

The original suspension by the Premier League, EFL, FA and WSL came just a day after it was announced that three Foxes players were self-isolating after showing symptoms of the virus.

“Our primary concern is the health and wellbeing of the public, including all members of the Leicester City family, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19,” a club statement said.

“The Club looks forward to the resumption of football as soon as it is safe and possible for it to return.