16 COVID-19 patients, 2 Nurses dead as fire engulfs hospital

File picture: Fire demonstration

At least 16 Covid-19 patients and nurses died Saturday in the latest in a series of hospital fires in India, officials said, as the country’s system buckles under a surge in cases.

There were around 50 other patients at the four-storey hospital in Bharuch in the western state of Gujarat when the blaze began at 1:00 am (0730 GMT). It has since been put out.

The toll stood at 18, local police official Rajendrasinh Chudasama told AFP, “including 16 patients and nurses.”

“Primary revealed that the fire started due to a short-circuit in the ICU of the hospital,” he said.

On April 23 a fire on the outskirts of Mumbai killed 13 Covid-19 patients, a few days after another blaze left 22 people dead at another clinic, also in Maharashtra state.

India’s system has long suffered from underfunding, and the new virus has seen critical shortages in oxygen, drugs and hospital beds, with patients dying outside hospitals in some areas.

On Saturday India reported over 400,000 new Covid cases in 24 hours for the first time, the first country to do so in the , official data showed.

Many experts suspect that because of insufficient testing and inaccurate recording of cause of , the real numbers are much higher.


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