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Iran is bearing the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak, with the government seemingly appearing unprepared to handle the virus. 

Iran releases 54,000 prisoners on coronavirus concerns

The country is one of the most hit countries outside China, and now the government has announced that it will temporarily release over 54,000 prisoners as a way of combating spread in its crowded jails. Iranian Judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili indicated that they released the prisoners after they posted bail and tested negative for coronavirus.

There have been over 2,300 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran, with at least 77 deaths according to the government. However, the number could be higher because the government has been hiding the extent of the spread of the virus. On Friday, BBC News reported that the death toll in Iran as a result of COVID—19 could be around 210 according to hospital sources.

The health ministry indicated that the number of confirmed cases is on the ascendency and has increased by 50%. The cases reported in Iran have also been connected to cases in Canada, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. 

Top officials in Tehran infected with COVID-19

A considerable number of senior officials in Iran have been infected with the virus. Around 8% of the members of the Iranian parliament are infected, including the deputy health minister as well as one of the country’s vice presidents. Among the latest senior official to get the virus is Pirhossein Kolivand, the head of emergency medical services. 

Among the deaths reported is that of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of the Expediency Council that advises Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to state media, Mohammad was a close confidant of the Supreme Leader Khamenei. 

On Tuesday, during a tree-planting event to mark World Wildlife Day, Ayatollah Khamenei asked the public to maintain the health hygiene guidelines provided by the health ministry. He ordered all government agencies to provide the health ministry with the necessary help it may need. He insisted that the government has not concealed information regarding the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.