Authorities have issued a warning about the dangers of sending hand sanitiser by air freight or mail following a surge of people attempting to send the goods without declaring them.
There has been a sharp rise in hand sanitiser being found as undeclared dangerous goods in connection with the coronavirus outbreak.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority says hand sanitiser must be properly declared as a dangerous good before being consigned for air shipment. It cannot be sent by mail.
This is because hand sanitiser is up to 75 per cent ethanol, posing a fire risk to aircraft and being formally graded as a Class 3 Flammable Liquid.
Hand sanitiser can be carried by aircraft passengers on board and in checked luggage, subject to restrictions.
A total of two litres can be carried in maximum half litre containers. Normal fluid restrictions apply for carry-on bags.
Passengers must ensure the hand sanitiser release valve is protected by a cap or other suitable means to prevent inadvertent release of the contents.
CASA's Peter Gibson says the spike in hand sanitiser dangerous goods incidents is a serious safety risk.
"We have very clear rules covering carrying dangerous goods on aircraft and people must follow these rules at all times," Peter Gibson says.
"There are penalties for breaches of the dangerous goods regulations, including fines and jail sentences of up to seven years.
"The coronavirus outbreak is not an excuse for putting air safety at risk."
Hand sanitiser shortages have seen some independent sellers taking advantage of increased demand as coronavirus "panic buying" continues.
Woolworths have also confirmed that their Australian stores are completely sold out of all sanitiser products.
Other goods in high demand
Australian supermarkets are facing a shortage of other important supplies, particularly toilet paper, after a panic-buying frenzy began earlier in the week leaving shelves emptied.
Coles and Woolworths have both enforced buying restrictions permitting a maximum of four toilet paper packs per customer to cope with the demand.
Meanwhile, bulk buy supermarket Costco is restricting customers on the amount of household goods they can buy – and not just toilet paper.
Australian branches have had to roll out rationing on milk, eggs, rice, disinfectant and soap.
According to some Facebook groups, customers claim they're only allowed to buy one carton or milk or one box of eggs.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) said there have been numerous reports of consumers trying to stock-up on prescription medicines because of fears the onset of COVID-19 might lead to medicine shortages in Australia.
Wholesalers have also reported higher than usual demand for prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Australia's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy says most cases in Australia are people who had travelled from other affected countries and there's only "limited community transmission" in NSW.
"We are trying to reassure people that removing all of the lavatory paper from the shelves of supermarkets probably isn't a proportionate or sensible thing to do at this time," Prof Murphy told a Senate hearing yesterday.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-hand-sanitiser-sent-as-dangerous-undeclared-goods-by-air-mail-panic-buying-shortages/4eec59c4-3563-471a-a155-8557bd4e0a95