Iranian Christians call for prayer as 70,000 prisoners including Christians to be released over coronavirus risks
The Iranian government is to release 70,000 prisoners serving sentences of less than five years, including many Christians, to lessen the spread of coronavirus within prisons.
Among those released was Christian prisoner Ramiel Bet Tamraz, who was freed on 26 February.
Official government statistics confirmed 145 coronavirus related deaths and 5,823 cases of infection on 7 March, but some sources suggested the figures may be higher.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki has advised limiting the use of paper bank notes and has warned against travelling within the country, after schools and universities were closed down to prevent the spread of the virus.
Iran is in need of “urgent prayer”, an Iranian Christian told Barnabas, particularly for the cities of Tehran and Qom, where the outbreak of coronavirus is particularly severe.
“At the moment everyone is suffering. The issue is affecting everyone. The shortage of medical equipment, medical personnel and medicine are a very main concern. Lack of training is another one. People don’t know how to deal with it,” she explained. “Christians are pleading prayers and for God’s mercy for Iran and Iranians.”
From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources