Slovakia will not allow the import of spirits with more than 20 percent of alcohol from the Czech Republic, the health and agriculture ministries confirmed during a meeting on October 2.
The stance of the Health Ministry during the meeting was clear, said Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská, as quoted by the TASR newswire. She added that she views the current situation in the Czech Republic as critical, referring to the increasing number of hospitalisations of patients with methanol poisoning.
“[These] warning signals suggest that we have to be careful,” she said, as quoted by TASR.
Slovakia does not know when it will abolish the ban on import and sale of Czech spirits, added Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek. He explained that labels attached to the new bottles should include not only the date the bottle was filled but also the date a particular batch was produced and its number. He said that every batch would be issued a so-called birth certificate documenting its origin.
The agriculture minister also said that penalties on the sale of bootleg alcohol would be increased from hundreds to thousands of euros, TASR wrote.
Slovakia halted imports of Czech spirits containing more than 20 percent alcohol on September 18, in reaction to developments in the methanol poisoning case in the Czech Republic, where contaminated spirits have claimed at least 27 lives, with dozens of poisoning cases admitted to hospitals so far.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic cancelled its sales ban on September 26, after police found the source of the deadly bootleg alcohol.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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