Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on April 19 announced that the furlough period for prisoners has been extended by another one month, a step welcomed by the United Nations. Iran has been temporarily releasing prisoners since February this year after the coronavirus outbreak hit its jails. According to reports, so far 1,00,000 inmates have been granted temporary leave in order to contain the spread of the virus in its correctional facilities.
Iran on April 19 also allowed small businesses to resume operations in capital Tehran, days after it allowed it in the rest of the country. However, mosques will remain closed for another two weeks in the Islamic republic and decisions on gatherings during the holy month of Ramadan will be taken next week, said Rouhani. As per reports, schools and universities will remain shut in the country and sporting events will not resume anytime soon.
Initially, Iran was one of the worst affected countries in the world with high profile people getting infected by the virus. According to data by worldometer, Iran has recorded 82,211 virus cases so far, of which 5,118 people have lost their lives. Iran, which is currently facing a severe crisis on economic front because of sanctions imposed by the United States, had in early March requested the IMF for a $5 billion loan to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 2.35 million people globally and has killed nearly 1,60,000 patients since it first broke out in December 2019. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Currently, the United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom are the most affected countries in the world with a recorded death toll of 15,000 and above.
(Image Credit: AP)