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Agencies
March 10, 2020

Coronavirus: Iran lets go 70,000 prisoners, reports 43 new deaths

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A
Agencies
March 10, 2020

DUBAI/TEHRAN/PARIS/DOHA/KARACHI: Iran let go approximately 70,000 prisoners amid a concerning coronavirus outbreak, its judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, said on Monday, as the country reported 43 new deaths over the past 24 hours, bumping up the death toll to 237.

According to the judiciary’s news site Mizan, Raisi said: "The release of the prisoners, to the point where it doesn’t create insecurity in society will continue." However, he did not specify if or when those released would need to return to jail.

The Islamic Republic continues to grapple with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as the death toll in the country shot to 237. "Our colleagues have confirmed 595 new cases across the country," the health ministry’s spokesperson, Kianoush Jahanpour, said in a televised conference. "This brings the overall number of confirmed cases to 7,161, as of today noon," he added, noting that the rate of new infections was dropping "but it is still too early to judge" when the outbreak could be brought under control. Forty-three people have unfortunately been added to the number of those who have died of the disease, so to date we have 237 dead."

Meanwhile, the number of cases of novel coronavirus worldwide has crossed 110,000 people in 100 countries and territories with more than 3,800 dead, according to an AFP tally on Monday. China, where the virus first emerged late last year, remains the most affected country with more than 80,000 cases, but experts have expressed hope that the Chinese outbreak has peaked.

Governments are scrambling to respond to the outbreak with countries across Europe cancelling public gatherings, restricting attendances at sporting events and closing schools -- following similar measures in China and other Asian nations.

Italy is battling the deadliest outbreak outside of China with 366 people having died from 7,375 cases, much more deadly than in South Korea, which has seen a similar number of infections but just 51 deaths.

The Rome government is attempting to seal off roughly 15 million people in its hard-hit northern regions, forbidding travel around a vast area including the cities of Venice and Milan.

Qatar announced Monday that it was temporarily banning the entry of passengers from 14 countries including Pakistan due to concerns over coronavirus epidemic, an official notification said.

The ban covers Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.

According to a statement from Pakistani embassy in Doha, the ban applies to visit visas, family visas, and iqama holders uniformly. The statement added the embassy was in contact with Qatar’s foreign office and will apprise Pakistani nationals about any development.

The embassy also advised passengers to avoid travel from Pakistan to Qatar, adding that a new announcement from the Qatari government should be awaited. It also said that the situation regarding the Qatar Airways and PIA flights will be clarified today.

Pakistan suspended its flight operations to Iran and China after the outbreak of the disease in the two countries. On Sunday, an emergency was imposed in New York after the number of coronavirus cases in United States rose to 22.

The United Arab Emirates confirmed 14 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of people diagnosed to 59, state news agency WAM reported.

Of the new cases, there were four Emiratis, three Italians, two each from Bangladesh and Nepal, and a Russian, Syrian and Indian diagnosed with the virus, WAM reported, citing the country’s Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, Sindh's fifth case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the metropolis, a spokesperson for the provincial health department said on Monday.

The patient, a 53-year-old man, is a resident of Karachi and returned to Pakistan from Syria via Doha, Qatar, according to the spokesperson. He has been shifted to a quarantine facility alongside his family, reported local media on Monday. The first patient of coronavirus, on the other hand, recovered last week and was discharged.