Bootleg booze kills 27 in Iran after coronavirus 'cure' rumours
Twenty-seven people have died from methanol poisoning in Iran after rumours that drinking alcohol can help cure the coronavirus infection, state news agency IRNA reported on Monday (March 9), The Straits Times reported.
The outbreak of the virus in Islamic republic is one of the deadliest outside of China, where the disease originated.
Twenty have died in the southwestern province of Khuzestan and seven in the northern region of Alborz after consuming bootleg alcohol, IRNA said.
Drinking alcohol is banned in Iran for everyone except some non-Muslim religious minorities.
Local media regularly report on lethal cases of poisoning caused by bootleg liquor.
A spokesman for Jundishapur medical university in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan, said 218 people had been hospitalised there after being poisoned.
The poisoning was caused by "rumours that drinking alcohol can be effective in treating coronavirus," Ali Ehsanpour said.
The deputy prosecutor of Alborz, Mohammad Aghayari, told IRNA the dead had drunk methanol after being "misled by content online, thinking they were fighting coronavirus and curing it".