06:10 GMT30 May 2020
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    More than 300 people in Iran have died and more than 1,000 have been sickened after ingesting methanol in an attempt to protect themselves from COVID-19.

    According to a report by the Independent, citing Iranian media, many Iranians have turned to fake remedies that have been widely propagated across social media, such as methanol - a toxic alcohol - to protect against or cure themselves of the coronavirus. 

    “Other countries have only one problem, which is the new coronavirus pandemic. But we are fighting on two fronts here,”  Dr. Hossein Hassanian, an adviser to Iran’s health ministry, is quoted as saying. “We have to both cure the people with alcohol poisoning and also fight the coronavirus.”

    Videos of an intubated five-year-old boy who became blind after his parents gave him methanol to protect him from the virus have been widely circulated on Iranian media.

    “The virus is spreading, and people are just dying off, and I think they are even less aware of the fact that there are other dangers around,” Dr. Knut Erik Hovda, a clinical toxicologist in Oslo who studies methanol poisoning, told the Associated Press. “When they keep drinking this, there’s going to be more people poisoned.”

    Other Iranian social media accounts are claiming that some people cured themselves of the virus with whiskey and honey. 

    “It is rumored that alcohol can wash and sanitize the digestive system,” said Dr. Javad Amini Saman in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah, AP reported. “That is very wrong.”

    The latest data by Worldometer reveals that there are more than 32,000 cases of the virus in Iran, and more than 2,300 people have died as a result. 

    The epicenter of the pandemic has shifted to the US, where there are more than 94,000 confirmed cases of the virus so far, more than any other country in the world. Other countries with high numbers of cases are Italy, Spain and Germany. China has the second-highest number of cases in total. However, new cases there have dwindled, and lockdown measures in Hubei Province, where the virus first broke out, started being lifted this week.

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    methanol, deaths, Iran, coronavirus, COVID-19
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