Rumours that alcohol kills COVID-19 leaves 27 Iranians dead from poisoning

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With more than 7,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, Iran is now the third most-affected country in the world outside mainland China.

The killer bug has infected more than 8,000 and killed 291 in Iran, making it one of the deadliest outbreaks outside of China.

So far coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed 18 in the southwestern province.

The outbreak has prompted authorities to temporarily release around 70,000 prisoners to contain the spread of the illness.

Raisi did not specify when those released would return to jail.

Jundishapur medical university in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan, has seen more than 200 people hospitalized from poisoning, spokesman Ali Ehsanpour told the state agency, according to AFP. There are over 7,640 confirmed cases of the virus across the wider Mideast.

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As coronavirus continues spreading around the world and crippling global markets, Iran is the worst-hit county after China, with over 2,000 deaths and more than 7,100 people infected as of Sunday.

In a press briefing on Monday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom said that since the virus has a foothold "in so many countries, the threat of pandemic has become very real".

Some radical Iranian officials have speculated the coronavirus may have been developed as a weapon by the Islamic republic's arch-enemy, the United States.

Of the new cases, there were four Emiratis, three Italians, two each from Bangladesh and Nepal, and a Russian, Syrian and Indian diagnosed with the virus, WAM reported, citing the country's Health Ministry.

Jahanpour urged Iranians to avoid traveling around the country and to stay at home as much as possible. He has been shifted to a quarantine facility alongside his family, reported local media on Monday.

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