September 15, 2012
Czech Bans Spirit Sales Amid Wave of Poisonings
The Czech Republic has taken an unprecedented emergency measure and banned the sale of spirits with more than 20 percent alcohol content as it battles a wave of methanol poisonings that has already killed 19 people.
Health Minister Leos Heger said Friday the ban was effective immediately and applies nationwide. It covers all possible sales locations, including restaurants, hotels, stores and the Internet.
Kiosks and markets had earlier been banned from selling spirits with more than 30 percent alcohol content, but Heger said the measure has not been effective enough because "an absolute majority" of people who have been poisoned bought the toxic alcohol in restaurants, bars and stores.
Heger said the ban could possibly take weeks. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of all the liquor in restaurants across the country is likely made on the black market