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Iran Press TV

Iran furloughs 70,000 prisoners as it battles virus

Iran Press TV

Monday, 09 March 2020 11:02 AM

Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi says Iran has temporarily released around 70,000 prisoners in order to prevent a further spread of the new coronavirus.

"Prisoners will continue to be furloughed as long as [this measure] does not interfere with the society's security," Raeisi told judicial authorities on Monday. "The priority lies with those who have underlying health conditions," he added.

The chief justice said Iran's judicial apparatus has also prioritized processing the cases of individuals charged with hoarding hygiene products and other medical requirements amid the country's efforts to curb the outbreak.

"The hoarders will be tried earlier than they are due in open courts, and the hoarded items will soon be distributed throughout the nation," he said.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed more than 3,800 people and infected over 108,000 others in at least 95 countries.

Iran has been the worst-hit country in the Middle East, with a total of 237 deaths and 7,161 infection cases.

Presenting the latest figures on the epidemic on Monday, head of the Health Ministry's Public Relations and Information Center Kianoush Jahanpour said 595 new infections had been diagnosed since Sunday.

Medical authorities, however, are upbeat about the country's ability to subdue the outbreak, citing the rate at which patients have been recovering from the disease. Jahanpour said at least 2,394 people have been released from hospitals after regaining their health.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) described Iran's capability and performance in controlling the virus as exemplary.

Iran to release indigenous testing kits

Separately, an Iranian official said the country's science-based organizations have managed to produce indigenous diagnostic kits, which will be supplied to the market as of March 20.

Mostafa Qane'i, secretary of the Biotechnological Development Center of the Science and Technology Department of the Iranian President's Office, said diagnosis is the most important first step in treating the disease.

The devices are being produced to meet domestic demand because the kits that have been supplied by China, WHO, and UNICEF - the United Nations' children fund - and those which the country has imported would last out only two months, he said.

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