Struggling to find its footing in the troubled times, Iran is reporting one death every 10 minutes due to the fatal coronavirus or COVID-19. So far, the country, that is worst affected, after Italy and China, has over 18,500 confirmed cases and 1,284 deaths due to COVID-19.

On Thursday, Iran recorded 149 deaths, the highest jump in a day since the pandemic hit the country. Just a day before 147 people had succumbed to coronavirus in the country.

Iran testing only severe cases for coronavirus

Covid-19 as on March 20

In a tweet posted on Thursday, Health Ministry's spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur tweeted: "Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran."

The grim situation in Iran could be gauged from the fact that the World Health Organisation had hinted at the likelihood of the number of cases being five times higher as the country was conducting tests for 'most severe cases' only. Despite the shakedown, Iran has failed to impose measures like quarantining or self-isolation of the pubic.

Addressing the media, Iran's Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi, said: "With 149 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus reaches 1,284. Unfortunately, we had 1,046 new cases of infection since yesterday." According to Independent, Tehran based Sharif University of Technology in a computer simulation has determined the death toll to cross 12,000 by May.

Iran to release 10,000 prisoners

In wake of the Iranian New Year,Nowruz, Iran'sSupreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has decided to permanently release 10,000, including come political prisoners. In a statement issued by the judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili, on state television, the pardoned prisoners will not return to the jail. Earlier, Tehran had temporarily released 85,000 prisoners in wake of coronavirus.

"Those who will be pardoned will not return to jail ... almost half of those security-related prisoners will be pardoned as well. A large number of prisoners who have been temporarily freed do not need to return to jail after the leader's pardon. The unprecedented point is that the pardon also includes the security-related prisoners with less than five-year jail sentences," Esmaili said further.

Urging people to stay at home and refrain from travelling in wake of the Iranian New year, Nowruz, Jahanpour tweeted: "Make smart decisions about travel, visits and meetings." Apart from shutting down four holy Shi'ite shrines, Iran has also imposed a closure of its educational institutions, and cultural and regional gatherings.