Alcohol exports to be halted

The government has asked the Health Ministry to halt the export of alcohol products from the Czech Republic due to the on-going outbreak of methanol poisonings. The move, which affects spirits produced and bottled in the Czech Republic, has come in response to threats from the EU on Wednesday to either prohibit exports or face a ban on alcohol imports from the union. Health Minister Leoš Heger and Finance Minister Miroslav Kaloušek said they understood the EU’s cause for concern, as the poisonings could not be seen as a local affair on a collective market. Methanol poisoning has so far claimed the lives of 23 people in various parts of the Czech Republic. Another three people were hospitalised with signs of poisoning in recent days.