Blanket ban on spirits after Methanol poisoning sweeps Czech Republic

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 19th September 2012

Spirits with more than 20 percent alcohol content have been banned in the Czech Republic to combat recent Methanol poisonings that have already taken 19 lives, raising concern for the spread of poisoning to other countries which import from Eastern Europe.

Australia, like many other countries, has been warned to be cautious about imported spirits from the region.

Czech Minister for Health, Leos Heger said the ban extended to restaurants, stores, hotels and the internet and was effective immediately to prevent the spread of the poisoning.

The contaminated Vodka and Rum is believed to have been sold cheaply at markets and kiosks and was originally banned last week, however, the ban has now extended to all possible points of sale.

Although 19 people have lost their lives, dozens more people have been taken to hospital with blindness or have been put into artificial comas by doctors.

The Czech Government has urged people to be wary of alcohol with strange labeling or from unknown sources, and will continue to ban until the issue has been resolved.

Mr Heger said that no mention of the ban being lifted could even be discussed at this stage, but he hoped that it would not continue for months.