A false belief that methanol cures corona is prevalent in Iran. This belief that toxic methanol cures the corona virus has seen over 700 people killed in Iran.
An adviser to the ministry, Hossein Hassanian, said that the difference in death tallies is because some alcohol poisoning victims died outside of hospital.
Last year, deaths due to alcohol poisoning were just 66. But this year, the number of deaths for the same reason skyrocketed to 728, which is 10 times more. This number is besides the 525 deaths due to swallowing toxic methanol.
Iran is facing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East with 5,806 deaths and more than 91,000 confirmed cases.
Methanol cannot be smelled or tasted in drinks. It causes decreased level of consciousness, poor coordination, vomiting, abdominal pain, delayed organ and brain damage.
In Iran, the government mandates that manufacturers of toxic methanol add an artificial color to their products so the public can identify it apart from ethanol, the kind of alcohol that can be used in cleaning wounds. Though production of ethanol is illegal in Iran, it is found in alcoholic beverages, though its production is illegal in Iran.
Also, the consumption of alcohol is generally prohibited. However, some minority Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians can drink alcoholic beverages in private.
Some bootleggers in Iran use methanol, adding a splash of bleach to mask the added color before selling it as drinkable. It’s worth noting that Methanol can also contaminate traditionally fermented alcohol.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, Iran’s government announced it would issue permission for new alcohol factories quickly. Iran has currently some 40 alcohol factories that have been allocated for pharmaceutical and sanitizing items.
Already before the outbreak, the Iranian economy was struggling under severe U.S. sanctions blocking the sale of its crude oil abroad.