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More than a hundred Iranians have died from alcohol poisoning in recent weeks in the mistaken belief that industrial-grade ethanol and methanol will help ward off the coronavirus ravaging the country, according to local media reports.

In Fars province alone, 61 people died, five times more than the number killed by the virus in that area, the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency reported. Across the country, more than 1,000 people have been hospitalized, the semi-official reformist paper Etemad reported.

Iran's health sector is already struggling to cope with the coronavirus epidemic, with 17,000 infected and more than 1,100 having died. The crisis has been worsened by Iran's struggling economy and U.S. sanctions, which have led to shortages in medicine, supplies and hospital beds.