Coronavirus: Fake alcohol kills 19 in Iran’s Ardabil province

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Nineteen people have died and 200 others were hospitalized after consuming fake alcoholic drinks in Iran’s Ardabil province in an effort to combat coronavirus, an official at Ardabil’s medical university was quoted as saying by state media.

There has been an increasing number of people in Iran who have been hospitalized recently due to alcohol-poisoning after they resorted to drinking home-made or industrial alcohol hoping it would prevent coronavirus infection.

A number of those poisoned have gone blind and others have suffered brain damage, an official at Ardabil’s medical university said on Tuesday.

The majority of the poisoned believed drinking alcohol would protect them against coronavirus, said Mohammadreza Rezaei Bana.

Alcoholic drinks are banned in Iran since 1979, but many people, especially the non-wealthy, drink spirits distilled at home, which have high concentrations of methanol and are dangerous, or even industrial alcohol with fruit flavoring which is available in supermarkets.

Methanol is an industrial alcohol used as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source.

In extreme cases, alcohol poisoning could lead to permanent blindness, brain damage or heart attacks.

State media had previously reported that over 400 people were hospitalized in several Iranian provinces due to drinking fake alcohol. At least 36 have died in the southwestern province of Khuzestan from alcohol poisoning.

As of Tuesday, 988 in Iran have died from coronavirus and there are 16,169 confirmed cases.

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