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Iran: Over 700 People Die After Drinking Methanol To Cure Coronavirus

An adviser to the Iran ministry, Hossein Hassanian said that victims died outside of hospital admission, and therefore, death toll is higher than reported.


In Iran, more than 700 people have reportedly died after they ingested toxic methanol, a disinfectant agent, thinking that it would cure them of the coronavirus, a health official confirmed on April 27. An adviser to the ministry, Hossein Hassanian said in a statement that the victims mostly died outside of hospital admission, and therefore, death toll is far higher than what the Iranian Health Ministry released. 

The national coroner's authority informed that the cause of deaths of the COVID-19 patients was “alcohol poisoning”. “Some 200 people died outside of hospitals”, Hassanian said. While the Iranian health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, said that out of the total death toll, at least 90 fatalities lost their eyesight or suffered eye damage, Hassanian told international news media that the final tally of those people could be much higher. 

According to a government report released earlier in April, the deaths from toxic methanol poisoning in Iran have surged tenfold since the past year during the pandemic. It has claimed over 728 Iranians lives between Feb. 20 and April 7. However, the figures skyrocketed lately, whereas the deaths reported last year stood at near 66, an agency report confirmed. 

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Manufacturers add bleach

In Iran, the government mandates the production companies to add artificial colourant to the toxic methanol products for public caution to tell it apart from ethanol, which is used to sterilize wounds. However, some manufacturers add bleach to contaminate and mask the colourant to the fermented alcohol. Consumption, of this alcoholic beverage, is prohibited in Iran owing to both health hazards and under the legal law of the Islamic republic, as per the media reports. However, Iran has over 40 alcohol manufacturing units allocated for the production of pharmaceutical items. 

With over 91,472 cases of the novel coronavirus, Iran allowed some businesses in the capital and nearby towns to re-open this past week, according to reports. Although the gyms, restaurants, shopping malls, and Tehran's grand bazaar had remained under closure to control the public assembly. Government offices reopened with a third of employees working from home, while the schools and universities still remained closed. 

(With inputs from AP)

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