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At least 44 people in Iran have died from alcohol poisoning after drinking bootleg alcohol in an effort to ward off the novel coronavirus. Misinformation in the country regarding alcohol being the cure or prevention for coronavirus infection has led to some Iranians drinking bootleg alcohol. Seven bootleggers have been detained by authorities.
According to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), most cases of alcohol poisoning occurred in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
Alcohol is banned in the Islamic republic, but some Iranians still drink vodka and other spirits distilled by non-commercial moonshiners. High methanol content can sometimes be found in the home-distilled spirits which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
As of March 10, 291 people have died from the coronavirus in Iran with 8,042 confirmed cases.
Loss of trust in government
Many Iranians reportedly do not trust the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, claiming that officials cover up the real numbers of deaths from the deadly virus.
According to a sociologist who spoke to Deutsche Welle (DW), the Iranian government has suffered a loss of confidence from the people. “The relationship between the government and the public is severely damaged. The government is suffering a massive loss of confidence. And this shows in critical situations like now. Due to this distrust, society ignores information given out by the government. In recent weeks, the government has too often had to correct its own statements,” said sociologist Saeed Paivandi.
One of the worst-hit countries
Coronavirus in Iran was quick to reach to the top ranks of the government. It is believed that 8% of the Iranian parliament is infected with the deadly virus.
One of the advisors to the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Mohammad Mirmohammadi, and the former ambassador to the Vatican, Hadi Khosrowshahi, have died from the virus. An Iranian diplomat and former ambassador to Syria, Hossein Sheikholeslam, died on March 5, becoming the latest high-ranking official to have succumbed to the coronavirus.
Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, and the vice president for Women and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, have also been infected with the virus.
The country’s parliament has been suspended indefinitely and officials are barred from traveling.
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