Iranian president says prisoner leave to be extended

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on April 19, 2020, shows President Hassan Rouhani, beneath the portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chairing a cabinet session in the capital Tehran. (AFP)
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Updated 19 April 2020

Iranian president says prisoner leave to be extended

  • Iran’s judiciary began progressively granting detainees furlough in March

TEHRAN: Iran will extend leave for prisoners for one more month, President Hassan Rouhani announced Sunday, after the country temporarily released 100,000 detainees to combat the spread of coronavirus.
“Prisoners’ leave was supposed to continue until the end of Farvardin (April 19)... it will be extended until the end of Ordibehesht (May 20),” Rouhani said during a televised meeting of the government’s coronavirus taskforce, referring to two Iranian months.
However, he said the judiciary would be the main authority on the matter.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili did not directly confirm Rouhani’s remarks but further leniency was anticipated.
“By utilising the full extent of the leniency the law allows, we expect a significant number of prisoners on leave not to go back, and even for many of those currently detained to be released,” Esmaili was quoted as saying by judiciary’s news agency Mizan Online.
A final decision will be made on April 29, he added.
Iran’s judiciary began progressively granting detainees furlough in March, with 100,000 prisoners now on temporary leave.
It also announced last month that 10,000 prisoners would be released in an Iranian New Year amnesty.
The move aimed to “reduce the number of prisoners in light of the sensitive situation in the country,” Esmaili said at the time, making no explicit reference to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Islamic republic has been struggling to contain what is the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the novel coronavirus since reporting its first cases on February 19.
On Sunday, Iran announced 87 new deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, raising the official toll to 5,118.
The government has repeatedly urged Iranians to stay at home to contain the spread of the disease.
It has shut schools and universities, postponed major events and imposed a range of other restrictions.
On Saturday, Iran allowed some shuttered businesses in the capital Tehran to reopen, after approving similar measures in other provinces last week.


COVID-19 infection rates among UAE citizens increased by 30%

Updated 23 min 35 sec ago

COVID-19 infection rates among UAE citizens increased by 30%

  • The total number of recorded cases in the UAE is 61,845 and 354 deaths
  • Meanwhile, the UAE celebrated reaching 5000 vaccinated volunteers in its phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine

DUBAI: The UAE’s Minister of Health and Prevention announced a 30 percent rise in new COVID-19 cases among citizens on Thursday and warned of the dangers of gatherings that do not follow measures.

The minister called for those in the UAE to exercise caution and care in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The official spokesman for the UAE Government, Omar Al-Hammadi, said that the total number of recorded cases in the UAE is 61,845 and 354 deaths, while the current number of patients receiving treatment has reached 5,752.

Meanwhile, the UAE celebrated reaching 5000 vaccinated volunteers in its phase III trials of an inactivated vaccine for COVID-19, state news agency WAM reported.

The trials began in Abu Dhabi last month after China’s Sinopharm CNBG, the world’s sixth-largest vaccine manufacturer, developed an inactivated vaccine that successfully completed phase I and II of testing.

Phase I and Phase II trials, which were conducted in China, resulted in 100 percent of the volunteers generating antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after two doses in 28 days.

Over 80 nationalities in the UAE have volunteered to participate in the trails, according to WAM.

“This milestone marks a significant achievement for the ongoing clinical trials and is testament to the global commitment to humanity of everyone who calls the UAE home,” Chairperson of the National COVID-19 Clinical Management Committee, Nawal Ahmed Alkaabi, said.

"We reached the 5000 vaccinations faster than anticipated and believe that our trials of the inactivated vaccine are moving faster than comparable trials processes anywhere in the world,” he added.

Alkaabi said that the UAE aims to vaccinate 15,000 volunteers.

The thousands of volunteers who have been vaccinated come from a diverse background and are of all ages between 18 and 60.