published: 12.09.2012, 20:48 | updated: 12.09.2012 20:50:46
Brno - Bootleg alcohol has already claimed 16 lives in the Czech Republic and some 30 people have serious health problems after having drunk tainted alcohol.
Some of them are in a critical conditions.
Some of those who have survived the poisoning with methanol have gone blind.
The first death was reported in north Moravia on September 6.
South Moravia Regional Governor Michal Hasek (Social Democrats, CSSD) has convoked a meeting of the emergency staff in Brno for the afternoon over the cases of methanol poisoning.
South Moravia and the Moravia-Silesia regions are the most afflicted areas.
Some cases have also been reported in the Central Bohemia Region.
The government today imposed a ban on the sales of hard liquor in street stalls and kiosks to be in force until further notice and formed an emergency committee.
Police President Martin Cervicek had a special team to investigate the poisonings.
The regional representatives say they want to prevent the situation from worsening by any possible means.
They will, for instance, issue, the list of the places where people can test liquors they have bought if they have doubts about their origin and quality.
It is still not sure what amount of the hazardous alcohol has been spread on the market.
The police and the State Agricultural and Food Inspection have been checking alcohol sellers since the weekend across the country. Inspectors are checking market places, street stands and small shops as well as large shops.
However, they do not know yet where the poisonous methyl alcohol comes from.
It may have been illegally imported but it cannot be ruled out that it was produced in South Moravia or other regions of the Czech Republic, the police say.
A 36-year-old man has been accused and taken into custody over the selling of dangerous alcohol, the police said on Saturday.
Policemen, sanitary officers and local self-rule authorities warn against drinking of tapped alcoholic beverages or liquors from unstamped bottles of an unknown origin.
The Czech Republic has also agreed with Poland on the coordination of sanitary checks. Apart from the Czech victims of methanol, two people recently died after the consumption of alcohol of unknown origin in the eastern Polish town of Kielce.
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