Sberbank Boss Calls for Legalization of Online Alcohol Sales

The head of Russia’s biggest bank, German Gref, has called on the country’s government to legalize online alcohol sales to help people who are self-isolating because of the coronavirus, RBC reports.

The CEO of Sberbank has started a mandatory two weeks in self-isolation after returning from abroad.

But during a videoconference news briefing on Tuesday, he said he believed medicines that are available over-the-counter and alcohol should be made available for purchase online to help people self-isolating avoid going out to shops or pharmacies.

“I hope this will be decided soon and that person will not have to go to shops and pharmacies,” he said.

Shortly after Gref spoke, President Vladimir Putin announced that over-the-counter medication would be made available for online purchases but made no mention of alcohol.

Russia has recorded 114 coronavirus cases and foreign nationals have been banned from entering the country until May to try to prevent the virus from spreading.

Heavy drinking was long considered one of the main factors driving mortality in Russia, especially among men of working age. Russia’s alcohol consumption has fallen sharply over the last few years but authorities have yet to lift restrictions on sales online.

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