India hospital fire kills 16 Covid patients, 2 nurses - GulfToday

India hospital fire kills 16 coronavirus patients, 2 nurses


Gujarat Police Personnel stand guard in front of the Patel Welfare Hospital after a fire broke out in Bharuch on Saturday. AFP

Gulf Today Report

A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India killed 18 patients early Saturday, local media reported, as the country's health care 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.

HopsitalFire-India-750x450Charred hospital beds are seen outside the Patel Welfare COVID Hospital. AFP

"Sixteen patients and two staff members have died in the fire. Twelve of them died due to fire and smoke," said R.V. Chudasama, a superintendent of police in Bharuch. "Preliminary investigation shows the fire was caused because of a short circuit," he said. Local news channels showed footage of a hospital ward completely destroyed in the fire.

Separately, eight COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died Saturday at a hospital in the capital of New Delhi after it ran short of oxygen supplies, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. There was no confirmation by hospital officials.

The New Delhi television news channel also said an attorney for the Batra hospital told a New Delhi court that the hospital ran out of oxygen supply for 80 minutes before the tank was replenished.


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"As per information at 6.30 am, the death toll in the tragedy stood at 18. Immediately after the fire, we had confirmation of 12 deaths," the Press Trust of India quoted a local police official as saying.

india fire 22 People stand around the Welfare Hospital after a deadly fire in Bharuch, western India. AP

Thirty-one other patients were rescued by hospital workers and firefighters and their condition was stable, said police officer B.M Parmar, according to Associated Press.

The blaze and smoke killed 18 patients before they could be taken out by rescuers, Parmar said. The fire broke out in a COVID-19 ward on the ground floor and was extinguished within an hour, Parmar said. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Fire-Hospital-Gujrat-750x450Vadodara Range IG, Harekrishna Patel (2L) inspects the Patel Welfare COVID Hospital after a fire broke out in Bharuch. AFP

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.

Last month 22 other coronavirus patients died at a hospital in the same state when the oxygen supply to their ventilators was disrupted by a leak.

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

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