At least 27 people have reportedly died in Iran's Khuzestan and Alborz provinces due to alcohol poisoning. Industrial alcohol, used for sanitizing purpose, was consumed by people in order to prevent themselves from coronavirus, reports say. As many as 27 persons have lost their lives in south-western Iran's Khuzestan province and northern Alborz province due to alcohol poisoning.
"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," Ali Ehsanpour, spokesperson of Ahwaz University of Medical Sciences said in a statement, ABC News reported. Apart from those deceased, "one of the victims got blind and some others are in critical condition," Ehsanpour added further.
Coronavirus fear triggers unscientific cures
Iran has emerged as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the middle-east. From no cases till February 18, the country has reported 7,161 cases along with 237 fatalities, as on Tuesday, March 10. With the disease spreading at such a rapid pace, panic has set in among common people who're employing various unscientific precautions to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
One such is -- drinking alcohol prevents one from coronavirus. But with alcohol banned in the Islamic republic, people consumed lethal industrial alcohol, sold in the market for sanitizing purposes. Industrial alcohol contains methanol, which when consumed, damages liver, causes blindness and can be fatal.
Khuzestan province has reported 73 Covid-19 cases but witnessed 218 cases of alcohol poisoning, among whom 20 people died. Seven were killed in Alborz province, Mohammad Aghayari, deputy prosecutor of the city of Karaj, said in a statement. The deceased had been "misled by content online, thinking they were fighting coronavirus and curing it," Aghayari further added.
Health infrastructure in Iran
The country has witnessed a shortage of masks and sanitizers. Questions have been raised about Iranian medical institutions' capacity to manage such a large number of cases. International sanctions coupled with regime's management has crippled the health infrastructure of the country. The Iranian regime has also been accused of covering up the spread of cases that have led to the worsening of the situation.