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COVID-19: Iran frees 70K prisoners after toll crosses 3,800 globally

Tehran: The coronavirus outbreaks in China and South Korea appear to be slowing, as countries elsewhere in the world adopt drastic measures to try and stamp out the infection.

Iran has temporarily released approximately 70,000 prisoners due to the coronavirus outbreak, Iranian judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday, according to Mizan, the news site of the judiciary.

There were 49 new fatalities in Iran from COVID-19.

In Italy, where some 16 million people in Lombardy and other parts of the north are now under quarantine, there were 133 deaths reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 366. More than 7,000 people in the country have been confirmed to have the virus.

But the latest figures from China and South Korea suggest the virus might be slowing in northeast Asia. The number of cases of novel coronavirus worldwide has crossed 110,000 people in 100 countries and territories with more than 3,800 dead, according to a news agency tally on Monday.

The landmark figure came after Iran reported almost 600 new cases on Monday morning, taking its total number of infections past 7,000.

China, where the virus first emerged late last year, remains the most affected country with more than 80,000 cases, but experts have expressed hope that the Chinese outbreak has peaked.

Governments are scrambling to respond to the outbreak with countries across Europe cancelling public gatherings, restricting attendances at sporting events and closing schools -- following similar measures in China and other Asian nations.

Italy is battling the deadliest outbreak outside of China with 366 people having died from 7,375 cases, much more deadly than in South Korea, which has seen a similar number of infections but just 51

deaths.

The Rome government is attempting to seal off roughly 15 million people in its hard-hit northern regions, forbidding travel around a vast area including the cities of Venice and Milan.

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