At least 27 people have died from alcohol poisoning in the Khuzestan and Alborz provinces of Iran trying to prevent infection of the coronavirus, Iranian news agencies reported on Monday.
“Some of the citizens of Ahwaz had heard that drinking alcohol could help them fight the coronavirus, so they used it as a preventive measure,” said Ali Ehsanpour, spokesman of Ahwaz University of Medical Sciences, according to the Mehr News Agency.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran, rumors and unscientific treatments on how to fight the virus have spread on social media. Among them was drinking alcohol.
However, with the ban on alcohol in Iran, some have been poisoned by drinking industrial alcohol sold in the market for sanitizing purposes.
While the official number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the province of Khuzestan was 73, at least 218 Iranians were hospitalized from alcohol poisoning in the medical centers affiliated with Ahwaz University of Medical Sciences.
“One of the victims got blind and some others are in critical condition,” Ehsanpour added.
Moreover, in the northern province of Alborz, seven people were killed because of alcohol poisoning, Mohammad Aghayari, deputy prosecutor of the city of Karaj, told Iranian Students' News Agency.
Iran has been hit hardest in the Middle East by Covid-19. The official number of infected patients until Monday was 7,161 -- 237 have died and 2,394 have recovered, a health ministry spokesman said according to the Fars News Agency.
Iran faces severe problems controlling the spread of virus including the shortage of sanitizers and preventive gear especially for the medical staff across the country. Both domestic mismanagement and international sanctions have paralyzed the health system during the current coronavirus crisis.