A hospital official in Iran’s capital Tehran says in recent days more patients with poisoning come for help, as they drink alcohol hoping to prevent coronavirus infection.
The official, Shahin Shadnia told Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency on March 6 that in some cases methanol-rich alcohol poisoning has led to the death of patients.
Alcoholic spirits, wine and beer are banned in the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979, but many people regularly drink vodka and other spirits either smuggled into the country or distilled at home by small-time moonshiners.
Home distilled spirits carry the danger of high methanol content that can make people very sick or even bring about poisoning deaths. Commercially produced spirits are controlled, and excess methanol taken out before bottling. Since there are no commercial distillers in Iran, home-made spirits sometimes kill people.
Even before the coronavirus epidemic, people got poisoned by bootleg alcohol and hundreds of people have died over the years.
Since coronavirus infections were first reported on February 19, rumors have spread among the population that drinking alcohol can help prevent contracting the disease. Doctors are now warning the population that alcohol has no impact on contracting COVID-19 and they should just follow common medical advice.