MOSCOW, March 17 (Reuters) - One of Russia’s top bankers wants online alcohol sales legalised to help people who are self-isolating because of the coronavirus.
German Gref, the chief executive 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 people 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 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.
Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Tatiana Voronova; editing by Timothy Heritage