The Czech government said it is tracking down sources of the deadly alcohol

The Czech government said it is tracking down sources of the deadly alcohol

The Czech government has banned spirits sales from street stands in a bid to halt a spate of methanol poisonings that is believed to have killed 19 people.

The Ministry of Health imposed the emergency measure on Wednesday (14 September) until further notice. The ban covers poured drinks with an abv above 30%, sold from street stands, refreshment stands, mobile stands, and other mobile and temporary outlets.

“Thousands of policemen, customs officers, and employees of numerous inspection authorities are in the field doing their utmost to stop the toxic alcohol from spreading any further," Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said.

About 30 people are in hospital, some in critical condition, after drinking bootleg vodka and rum laced with methanol, according to reports.

Most of the victims have been in the northeast of the country and police yesterday told journalists they had seized 400 litres of illegal alcohol in the region. About 500 bottles and some barrels of illegal alcohol were also uncovered in the eastern city of Zlin, police said.

The Czech black market accounts for an estimated one-quarter of all spirits sales in the country.