Hospital fire kills 9 patients with COVID-19 in ICU

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The Health Minister said that a fire broke out in the intensive care unit treating Covid-19 patients in southern Turkey after an oxygen cylinder exploded, killing nine people.

The state-run Anatolia News Agency said the fire broke out in the privately run Sanko University Hospital unit in Gaziantep, 530 miles (850 km) southeast of Istanbul. She cited the hospital’s statement, which identified victims between 56 and 85 years old. And soon the fire was brought under control.

The statement said that 14 patients undergoing intensive treatment have been transferred to other hospitals. The investigation is underway.

Health Minister Fakhruddin Kujah said on Twitter that nine people were killed in the fire, raising the previous estimate of eight killed in the hospital and the governor’s office of Gaziantep. There was no immediate explanation for this discrepancy.

The governor’s office said 19 patients were in the unit when a “high-pressure oxygen device” exploded at 4:45 am (0145 GMT). She added that other than the dead, no others were injured in the fire.

According to government figures, intensive care units across Turkey have a clinical occupancy rate of 74% due to the coronavirus outbreak, although medical associations say the number is higher and their hospitals are full of COVID-19 patients.

The Turkish Ministry of Health announced 26,410 new cases of coronavirus, which brings the total number of infections in the country since March to 1.98 million. The figure includes asymptomatic cases, which Ankara has not reported in the last four months, prompting criticism that the government was trying to conceal the extent of the outbreak in the country.

Turkey set a daily record of 246 deaths related to COVID-19 reported yesterday, bringing the total number of reported deaths due to the Coronavirus to 17,610

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