At least 300 people have allegedly died after consuming methanol in Iran, where alcohol is prohibited. The alcohol poisoning has left at least 1,000 ill, according to Iranian media.
Fake news that consuming methanol can get rid of coronavirus made the rounds on social media in Iran. Taking this seriously, people started consuming it. Some families even reportedly force-fed methanol to infants, making them blind and leaving them with severe health complications including death.
As selling of alcohol is banned in the Islamic state of Iran, people relied on bootlegging (the illegal manufacture, distribution, or sale of goods, especially alcohol or recordings).
Reports claim that Iran's bid to downplay the impact of coronavirus made people take "measures" on their own, rather than go by the directions of the government, resulting in another tragedy.
All this started when a report claimed that a British school teacher and some others were cured of coronavirus after they consumed whiskey and honey. A tabloid had published the news and that made the rounds on social media in early February.
Alcohol-based sanitizers misinterpreted?
Reports that using alcohol-based hand sanitizers is the best way to prevent coronavirus were misinterpreted as alcohol being a remedy for coronavirus. Messages of high levels of alcohol warding off coronavirus were circulated on social media.
The Iranian media reported that many people resorted to drinking bootleg alcohol that contained methanol in southwestern Khuzestan province and the southern city of Shiraz in Iran. Many have been admitted to hospital.
Reports claim a five-year-old child who was made to drink methanol-based alcohol has lost its eyes and is struggling for life.
Bloomberg had earlier reported that in Fars province 61 people had succumbed to drinking bootlegged methanol-based drink last week. The number is higher than the deaths in the region caused by coronavirus.
Iran has the sixth highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world with 32,332 cases and 2,378 deaths reported as of March 27.
Globally, there are 550,300 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 24,903 deaths have been reported. The US surpassed China to have the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus with 85,749 cases.