Several dead in fire at Baghdad hospital for Covid-19 patients

Several dead in fire at Baghdad hospital for Covid-19 patients”

Twenty-eight of the victims were being treated in Covid-19 ICU wards, said Ali Akram al-Bayati of the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR). Officials said the blaze, which also injured 110 people, was set off by an exploding oxygen cylinder.

Flames spread quickly across multiple floors in the middle of the night, as dozens of relatives were at the bedsides of the 30 patients in the hospital's intensive care unit where most severe COVID-19 cases are treated, a medical source said.

"A statement issued online by Oman News Agency (ONA), said that the fire occured due to the explosion of oxygen cylinders being stored at a hospital housing a number of Covid-19 patients in the south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad".

At least 19 people have died in a fire at a Baghdad hospital. Civil defence teams put out flames until the early hours of the morning.

He said he and others watched helplessly as one patient struggled to breathe amid the smoke.

Social media videos show a chaotic scene as firefighters scramble to put out the blaze and health workers try to help evacuate patients.

More news: Politics Briefing: Ontario Premier isolating after staffer tests positive for COVID-19

The fire triggered outrage on social media, with a hashtag demanding the health minister be sacked trending on Twitter, a demand echoed by the human rights commission. Iraqi authorities have not released to an official casualty count.

In response to the fire, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi fired the director-general of the Baghdad Health Department in the al-Rusafa area, where the hospital is located. "I have directed an immediate investigation and questioning of the head of the hospital, the head of security and maintenance, and all those concerned", Al-Kadhimi said in a statement.

The Prime Minister also ordered an "investigation that should be completed within five days, and a report to be submitted to the Council of Ministers", it said.

The Special Representative calls for stronger protection measures to ensure that such a disaster can not reoccur. The country has recorded a total of 10,25,288 infections, including 15,217 deaths, the health ministry said on Saturday.

The injured and patients who weren't hurt have been taken by ambulance to other hospitals nearby. The Health Ministry said at least 200 people were rescued from the scene.

Iraq rolled out its vaccination campaign last month and has received almost 650,000 doses of different vaccines - the majority by donation or through the Covax scheme for low and middle income nations.

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