Iran temporarily frees 54,000 prisoners to combat coronavirus spread

Iran has temporarily released more than 54,000 prisoners in an effort to combat the spread of the new coronavirus disease in crowded jails, the BBC reports.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told reporters that the inmates were granted furlough after testing negative for Covid-19 and posting bail.

“Security prisoners” sentenced to more than five years will not be let out.

Iran’s Covid-19 outbreak has killed at least 77 people in less than two weeks.

On Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases rose by 50% for the second day in a row. It now stands at 2,336.

A number of senior Iranian officials have contracted the virus. Among the latest is the head of the emergency medical services, Pirhossein Kolivand.

The Armenian government has extended the restrictions at the Iran border until March 24 and is expected to temporarily cancel visa-free travel between the two countries.

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