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Libya releases prisoners to stem spread of coronavirus

The UN-backed government in Tripoli has released more than 450 prisoners as part of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The detainees were in pre-trial detention or had qualified for conditional release, a statement released by the justice ministry said on Sunday.

In the midst of fighting a civil war, Tripoli’s overcrowded detention centres were seen as dangerous areas of transmission.

While Libya’s north-African neighbours have reported the most cases on the continent excluding South Africa, the war-torn nation only recorded its first case last Tuesday.

The number of cases has today risen to eight, while many suspect the actual figure is much higher due to the country’s poor capacity to properly test for and identify the virus.

Since April 2019, forces loyal to eastern-based Khalifa Haftar have been fighting to seize the capital in an offensive that has killed hundreds and displaced 150,000 people.

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