South African officials are set to introduce rules to stop people drinking alcohol-based hand sanitiser after the country banned the sale and distribution of alcohol.
The country introduced the ban as a response to the coronavirus pandemic after politicians were told that 40 percent of hospital emergency admissions were alcohol related.
They argued that reducing alcohol would reduce pressure on hospitals as they tackled the COVID-19 pandemic. The move has resulted in thousands of extra hospital beds being made available, and also has reportedly left people who might otherwise have been drinking heavily with stronger immune systems, say health officials.
But desperate alcoholics have reportedly started drinking hand sanitisers instead in order to satisfy their craving.
The shocking development was revealed by Eastern Cape House Of Traditional Leaders chairperson Mwelo Nonkonyana who said anybody that is caught doing this could soon find themselves behind bars.
The organisation is part of a project to devolve power to traditional communities in order to help the country with back to its original community values, and among its roles include advising the President on customs.
They have the power to influence legislation, and Nonkonyana said he had been shocked by reports of “people drinking sanitisers.”
He said these people were being disrespectful to the government’s fight against the coronavirus and added: “We are shocked and saddened that there are people who are drinking sanitisers, it is extremely dangerous and 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 sanitisers as a way to replace alcohol will be arrested as they would be breaking the law.”
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