Vodka helps Russians cope with the new coronavirus, former Bosnian football player Elver Rahimic has said.
“When these extraordinary measures came into force here, the Russians banned the sale of alcohol in stores,” claimed Rahimic, who spent 13 years with CSKA Moscow and is currently coaching the club’s youth team.
“However, they complained so much about it, saying that vodka was a cure for them, that the authorities had to give up. I can only imagine them drinking that vodka during the quarantine.”
Even the coronavirus can’t do anything to them, because a 60 or 70 degree vodka kills everything alive, both the germs and the corona,” he joked in an interview with the Bosnian newspaper Avaz.
Despite what Rahimic said, doctors specialising in infectious diseases say that using alcohol is an unhelpful strategy against the coronavirus because it weakens the immune system and exposes is to the risk of being infected.
An increasing number of people, however, have sought to wet their whistle in recent weeks to cope with the stress of being confined at home. Alcohol sales have risen by double-digits across the world, including Russia, Europe and the United States.
Russia’s federal government has left it up to governors to call the shots when it comes to handling the COVID-19 crisis, including the sales of alcoholic drinks.
Zabaykalye, in Siberia, last week became the first Russian region to introduce a full ban on alcohol sales, but eased it within a few days after the Industry and Trade Ministry said that such tough measures could spur illegal production and provoke social tension.
Another Siberian region, Yakutia, has also backtracked on an alcohol ban that was imposed in some parts of the republic, while several other regions have restricted hours of sales. Moscow’s authorities have so far refused to put in place any alcohol sale restrictions.
There have been 15,770 coronavirus cases reported across Russia as of Sunday, including 2,186 in the past 24 hours. According to official data, 130 people have died of the disease caused by the virus and 1,291 have recovered.
Most Russian regions have enforced self-isolation rules and recommend people to stay home except for essential needs as well as keep a social distance of 1 metre.