In some of the videos, worshippers say they are licking the shrines in order to infect themselves, thus protecting future pilgrims from contracting the virus.  

Iranians have posted several videos on social media featuring devout Shiites licking holy shrines in defiance of the coronavirus, MEMRI says.

On March 1, 2020, a pilgrim posted a video of himself licking the steel bars protecting the window of a Shiite shrine, according to MEMRI. He said that many people have “spread lies” that this window “contracted” corona, AIDS, hepatitis, and “such nonsense.”

He said that he is licking the bars so the disease enters his body and future pilgrims will be safe, MEMRI reports. “I have now eaten the corona disease,.