TEHRAN: More than 700 people have died and about 90 others have lost their eyesight in Iran after consuming toxic methanol alcohol, erroneously believing that it can cure the COVID-19 disease.
Confirming the report, Adviser to Iranian Health Ministry Hossein Hassanian said over 200 people died outside of hospitals. He warned that final number of people who lost their eyesight could be much higher.
Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 5,011 people had been poisoned from methanol alcohol.
Since outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, alcohol poisoning has shot up by 10 times. The national coroner’s authority said that 728 Iranians were killed from Feb 20 to Apr 7 this year from alcohol poisoning. The report further relayed that only 66 people had died after consuming toxic alcohol in 2019.
With 5,806 deaths and more than 91,000 confirmed cases, Iran is experiencing the worst coronavirus spread in the Middle East.
Methanol cannot be smelled or tasted in drinks. It causes delayed organ and brain damage. Symptoms include chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, blindness and even coma.
According to Al-Jazeera, the Iranian government mandates that manufacturers of toxic methanol add an artificial colour to their products so the public can tell it apart from ethanol, the kind of alcohol that can be used in cleaning wounds.