Step away from the hand sanitiser. Eastern Cape officials are considering a proposal to make drinking hand sanitiser illegal – here’s why.
Another day, another lockdown development that spins our collective heads. Officials in the Eastern Cape have threatened to take bold action against citizens resorting to desperate measures to find their alcohol fix, after it was reported that several residents in the province drank hand sanitiser to fill the void.
This week, Eastern Cape house of traditional leaders chairperson Mwelo Nonkonyana told local publication DispatchLIVE that these reckless actions showed “disrespect” to the government.
The cleaning product contains high volumes of alcohol, and when combined with other strong chemicals, helps form a solution which kills germs and stops disease dead in its tracks. The product became so wildly popular at the start of the global health crisis, that stores worldwide had sold out of their stock.
However, not everyone is using hand sanitiser to preserve their health. In fact, many are making themselves ill by deciding to consume it – all while South Africans are unable to purchase beer under lockdown regulations. Nonkonyana has confirmed that his department hopes to make drinking hand sanitser a criminal offence:
“Though the product contains alcohol, it is not meant for human consumption. We have now heard that some people have fallen sick from this and we are now looking at putting this as a regulation so that whoever is found drinking hand sanitiser as a way to replace alcohol will be arrested as they would be breaking the law.”Eastern Cape house of traditional leaders chairperson Mwelo Nonkonyana
Essentially, Nonkonyana’s department believe that these actions are undermining all the efforts in place to preserve and save lives. Getting yourself hospitalised this way – when we need all hands on deck to fight this deadly disease – is regarded as an incredibly selfish act. It remains to be seen if other provinces will follow suit.