Dozens of people have died in Iran after a malicious rumour claimed downing bootleg booze would ward off the coronavirus, foreign media reports.
The death toll from alcohol poisoning in the province of Khuzestan, in Iran, has now reached at least 36 people – double the number that have been killed by the coronavirus in the region so far, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Methanol has so far killed seven more people in the northern region of Alborz and one in Kermanshah, western Iran.
Jundishapur medical university in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan, has seen more than 200 people hospitalised for poisoning, spokesman Ali Ehsanpour told the state agency.
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The cases were caused by “rumours that drinking alcohol can be effective in treating coronavirus,” Ehsanpour confirmed.
Alcohol has been prohibited for Iranian citizens by law since the establishment of the Islamic Republic government in 1979.
Seven bootleggers have been identified and arrested.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced Tuesday that the country will recognise doctors and nurses who die combating the new coronavirus as "martyrs" like slain soldiers.
It's not the only wild coronavirus cure rumour to spread, after the French government was forced to tell its citizens that cocaine will not cure the disease.
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Six people have so far died from the coronavirus in the UK.
England's deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said on Tuesday that coronavirus will infect "many thousands of people" in the UK.
Experts have also warned that the coronavirus outbreak will peak at Easter and be here until Christmas.
An employee at Great Ormond Street Hospital in central London also tested positive for coronavirus today.
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