03/04/2020, 11.20
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Tehran releases thousands of detainees to combat the spread of the coronavirus

At least 54,000 prisoners who test negative will be released on bail . The measure does not concern prisoners sentenced to five or more years for security related offenses. To date, there are 2336 and 77 confirmed cases, but the number may be higher. A WHO team in the country to stem the epidemic.


Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - To counter the spread of the new coronavirus in the country and especially in critical places such as overcrowded prisons, the Iranian authorities have ordered the temporary release of about 54 thousand prisoners. Judge spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili reported that the released people were only able to leave theor cell after testing negative for Covid-19.

However, the provision does not apply to those imprisoned for "security issues" who have been sentenced to five or more years in prison. Those who could soon regain their freedom include the British citizen of Iranian origins Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, whose conviction triggered a hard clash between London and Tehran. The British Foreign Ministry calls for free access of health workers to prisons to "check the health status of dual nationality prisoners."

According to official estimates, 2,336 infections of the new coronavirus occurred in less than two weeks in Iran. There are 77 confirmed victims, while the people 291 recovered. Yesterday the number of cases increased by more than 50% for the second consecutive day. Analysts and experts say that the number of people affected is far greater and cases related to the Islamic Republic have occurred in Afghanistan, Canada, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Oman.

High-ranking officials are also among those with new coronavirus, including the head of the Emergency Department Pirhossein Kolivand. 23 of the 290 members of Parliament also tested positive and a close associate of the supreme leader, the great Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 71-year-old Mohammad Mirmohammadi died on 2 March.

Meanwhile, a nationwide campaign should start today, as announced by Health Minister Saeed Namaki. Expert groups will visit suspected cases of Covid-19 and those unable to access medical treatment, in a country where the lack of drugs has long been reported due to U.S. sanctions.

In support of local authorities there is also a team of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) who has come to the country in recent days. On board the plane there was also a supply of medicines and health equipment, as well as protective masks for at least 15 thousand operators in the sector along with tests for the diagnosis that should include up to 100 thousand people.

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