The death toll because of alcohol poisoning in Iran is now at 300 after people started drinking methanol due to a rumour that it could cure coronavirus.

According to media in Iran, a country where drinking alcohol is banned, more than 1,000 people have already been poisoned from drinking methanol.

The news comes as Tehran reported 144 more deaths from the virus on Friday, bringing the death toll to 2,378 in total.

The number of cases has now reached 32,300, an international experts even think the country may be under-reporting its figures as they downplayed the issue for days ahead of the parliamentary election.

Ideas for fake remedies, including the methanol, have been spreading around social media in Iran because people are feeling suspicious of the government after they downplayed how bad the coronavirus crisis had got.

Iranian men bury the journalist Abdollah Zavieh, who passed away due to coronavirus

Iran, home to 80 million people, has been especially badly hit by the pandemic.

Clinical toxicologist, Dr. Knut Erik Hovda, told the Daily Mail: “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.”

Members of Iranian red crescent test people with possible coronavirus

There is no known cure of coronavirus yet, but some people in Iran got the wrong messages from social media.

Iranian social media accounts in Farsi wrongly suggested that a teacher and some other people had been cured of the disease after drinking whisky mixed with honey.

The story was based on an article that was published back in February.

This got mixed up with messages about the value of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and people began believing that drinking high-proof alcohol would cure coronavirus.

Revolutionary Guard members prepare to take part in disinfecting Tehran

Videos aired by media in Iran, show people on IV drips in hospital, including one five-year-old boy who had turned blind from alcohol poisoning.

The government assures that toxic methanol manufacturers add artificial colour to their products so people can tell it apart from ethanol, which is the sort of alcohol used in drinks, although its illegal in Iran.

Yet some bootleggers in Iran use a combination of methanol and bleach to cover up the different colour, then sell it on as drinkable.

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Coronavirus outbreak

You can’t smell or taste methanol in drinks but it causes delayed organ and brain damage.

The problem was already prevalent in Iran even before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Methanol poisoning impacted 768 people and killed 78 people between September and October 2018, according to one study.