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Iraq releases 20,000 detainees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Authorities say prisoners' release taken to reduce risks of spreading novel coronavirus

Ibrahim Saleh   | 23.04.2020
Iraq releases 20,000 detainees amid COVID-19 pandemic


The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council on Thursday announced that more than 20,000 detainees had been released so far as part of measures to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The council's statement said that this decision came "in line with the decisions of the [Iraqi] Crisis Cell regarding reducing the risks of the spread of the coronavirus."

The statement said that the number of defendants\detainees released as of April 22 had risen to 20,040.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iraq, the authorities have taken several measures to curb the virus, including a complete lockdown, suspension of flights, closure of universities and schools and ban on the entry of foreigners.

As of Wednesday, 1,631 coronavirus infections were confirmed across Iraq, including 83 deaths and a total of 1,146 recoveries.

Iraqi authorities expect to have fully contained the virus by next summer.

After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions worldwide, with Europe and the U.S. the worst-hit regions.

Worldwide cases have exceeded 2.64 million with more than 184,000 coronavirus-related deaths. Over 721,000 have recovered from the virus, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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