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Iran temporarily frees 70,000 prisoners over Coronavirus

March 10, 2020 at 1:17 am

People wear masks after deaths and new confirmed cases revealed from the coronavirus in Tehran, Iran on 21 February 2020 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

Iran has “temporarily” released approximately 70,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Iran has issued about 70,000 prisoners due to the coronavirus outbreak across the country, Iranian judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi announced yesterday.

“The release of the prisoners, to the point where it doesn’t create insecurity in society, will continue,” Iran’s Mizan quoted Raisi as saying.

Raisi did not specify when those released would return to jail. On Monday, the Iranian health ministry reported 595 new infections and 43 further deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 7,161, with 237 deaths.

Besides China, Italy, and South Korea, Iran is the worst-affected country since the outbreak of the disease, registering the highest death rates from the epidemic.

As part of its efforts to contain the virus, Tehran has taken several measures, including the closure of all schools and institutions of higher education, calling off sports events, and banning government officials from leaving the country. First detected in Wuhan, China, in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to more than 80 countries.

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The global death toll is nearly 3,500 and over 100,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries.

Notably, some 52,000 patients who contracted the virus recovered. After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency in January, last month, the WHO updated the global risk level to “very high.”