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Italian Health Ministry debunks alcohol as a way to 'boost immune system'

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By Seana Davis
Virus Outbreak Italy
Virus Outbreak Italy   -   Copyright  Andrew Medichini/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The Italian Health Ministry has debunked alcohol as a method to 'boost the immune system'.

"Alcohol consumption does not protect against COVID-19 and does not prevent one getting infected with the new coronavirus," they said in a statement.

"On the contrary, the risk of infection is greater because alcohol weakens the immune system and therefore reduces the body's ability to cope with infectious diseases," they said.

The ministry joined the encrypted messaging platform Telegram on March 31 and has since gained over half a million subscribers, where they have been providing updates as well as publishing the latest debunks to myths trending within the country.

The ministry has also debunked other myths this week, where they have discouraged against the use of hairdryers as a way to eliminate the virus.

"Breathing hot air from the hairdryer does not protect you from getting the infection. The hairdryer air cannot reach the high temperatures at which the virus dies. There would be only irritation of the mucous membranes and the risk of burns," they added.

The Italian Health Ministry is among a host of other ministries who have joined Telegram since the pandemic began, with the Ukrainian Health Ministry garnering over 870,000 followers since March 6.

Combatting misinformation within closed messaging chats has been a challenge for health authorities and fact-checkers alike.

WhatsApp introduced a limit on forwarding messages earlier this month in a bid to slow the spread of viral messages, with the hope of allowing facts to catch up with misinformation.