Iraq : At least 50 dead in a fire at a Covid hospital
More than 50 people have died after a fire in a coronavirus isolation ward at a hospital in the Iraqi city of Nasiriya. Much of Iraq’s health care system is in poor condition after years of conflict and angry relatives of the victims have been protesting outside the facility. The cause of the fire at the al-Hussein hospital is unclear, but reports said it began after an oxygen tank exploded. Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the arrest of the head of the hospital.
The fire was reported on Monday night at the Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital and authorities said it occurred due to an electric short circuit. But no official confirmation was made about the cause of the fire.
There were at least 63 patients inside the Covid-19 ward when the fire broke out, said Ammar al-Zamili, a spokesperson for the health department of Dhi Qar province, where Nasiriyah is situated. Major General Khalid Bohan, head of Iraq’s civil defence, told the media that the hospital building was constructed with flammable materials.
It was the second time a large fire has killed coronavirus patients in an Iraqi hospital this year. At least 82 people died at Ibn al-Khateeb hospital in Baghdad in April when an oxygen tank exploded, sparking the blaze.
Iraq is currently reeling under a severe Covid-19 wave, as the country’s daily infection count peaked last week to 9,000 new cases.