published: 12.09.2012, 12:36 | updated: 12.09.2012 12:47:53
Prague - The Czech government today set up a temporary crisis management group over the rising number of fatalities caused by methanol poisoning, government spokesman Michal Schuster has said.
Bootleg alcohol has already claimed 11 lives in the Czech Republic and 21 are hospitalised with methanol poisoning, Schuster said, referring to available information.
The crisis group, including representatives of the interior, health, agriculture and industry and trade ministries, the Customs Authority head and the police president, met immediately after its establishment this morning to issue recommendations for the government.
The group should mainly propose the extent and type of facilities in which the liquor sale should be banned, Schuster noted.
The government has not yet declared the state of emergency over the series of methanol poisoning cases.
The crisis group is to regularly assess the current situation as well as the efficiency of the taken measures. It should inform the government about its results immediately.
Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09), who was charged with forming the crisis group, and its members are also to draft proposals for legislative changes to lower the possibility of similar accidents in the future.
The temporary crisis management group includes deputy interior minister Jaroslav Hruska, Health Ministry manager Viera Sediva, deputy agriculture minister Jiri Mach, deputy industry and trade minister Jiri Jirka, Customs Authority general director Pavel Novotny and Police President Martin Cervicek.
The police and the State Agricultural and Food Inspection, the Retail Inspection and the Customs Authority are checking alcohol sellers across the country. Inspectors check market places, street stands and small shops as well as large shops.
"They are to find the source of methyl alcohol," Schuster said.
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, according to the police.
Most lethal poisoning cases have been reported in north and south Moravia as well as in the vicinity of Pribram, central Bohemia.
On Monday and Tuesday, sanitary officers carried out 410 extraordinary checks of alcohol origin and they found shortcomings in 75 cases.
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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