India hospital fire kills 12 Covid patients: reports

Ahmedabad, India :At least 12 Covid-19 patients died Saturday in the latest in a series of hospital fires in India, local media reported, as the country’s healthcare 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.

“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.

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.