300 people in Iran have died after consuming methanol in the false belief that high-proof alcohol is a cure for the coronavirus.

Local media in Iran, where alcohol is banned, have reported more than 1,000 people becoming sick after ingesting the toxic substance.

A string of fake remedies circulating social media has led to dozens of cases of people falling severely ill after consuming bootleg alcohol containing methanol.

Messages that hand sanitiser acts as a strong protective barrier against the disease are thought to have led many to believe drinking the solution would have a similar effect.

Other social media accounts in Farsi which falsely suggested a British school teacher and others cured themselves of the virus with whiskey and honey, have also fed the belief that high-proof alcohol would kill the virus.

The pubic in Iran remain suspicious of the government after it downplayed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

The pubic in Iran remain suspicious of the government after it downplayed the impact of the pandemic on the country.

Home to 80 million people, Iran reported 144 new deaths from coronavirus on Friday, bringing the country's death toll to 2,378, with a total of more than 32,300 infected.

International experts however also fear Iran may be under-reporting its cases.

Dr Knut Erik Hovda, a clinical toxicologist who studies methanol poisoning in Oslo, fears the Covid-19 outbreak in Iran could be even worse than reported.

International experts however also fear Iran may be under-reporting its cases

She said: "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.

"When they keep drinking this, there's going to be more people poisoned."

Iranian media aired footage of those affected by the alcohol poisoning being treated on beds needed for victims of the coronavirus.

The media also showed a boy as young as 5 years old who has turned blind because the alcohol poisoning.