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Czech's face booze ban after bootleg deaths

Czech's face booze ban after bootleg deaths
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Buying booze in the Czech Republic has been banned. The new law which applies to all liquor with more than 20 percent alcohol has been brought in after 19 people died from drinking bootleg vodka and rum containing poisonous methanol.

Weeks of investigation by the authorities have failed to uncover the source of the worst outbreak of alcohol-related deaths in the country in decades.

The Health Ministry had already banned sales by street vendors and market stalls to combat the spread of bootleg sales after the first cases appeared last weekend.

The tainted drink has left around two dozen people in hospital after the outbreak in the Moravian-Silesian region 350 kilometres east of Prague. Some of them are reported to be in a critical condition.

Health Minister Leos Heger, who announced the ban on national television said it would last indefinitely and that the government is ready to order an absolute, “prohibition” unless the source is found.

Its reckoned illegal sales are on the rise in the Czech Republic and account for up to 20 percent of the market.