Death toll in fire at Iraqi COVID-19 hospital surpasses 80

Brenda Watkins
April 25, 2021

The flames overwhelmed the hospital's second floor isolation hall within three to four minutes of the oxygen cylinder exploding, he said.

Among the dead were at least 28 patients on ventilators battling severe symptoms of the virus, tweeted Ali al-Bayati, a spokesman of the country's independent Human Rights Commission.

Muscat: A fire that broke out at a hospital housing several Covid-19 positive patients in Baghdad has resulted in 27 deaths and 46 injuries.

People from all over Iraq are referred to the hospital in southeastern Baghdad, including many with Covid-19. Following a special cabinet meeting to discuss the blaze, the government suspended key officials, including the health minister and the governor of Baghdad province.

Some of the victims were patients on ventilators due to COVID-19.

Baghdad Governor Mohammed Jaber called on the health ministry "to establish a commission of enquiry so that those who did not do their jobs may be brought to justice".

The Prime Minister also ordered an "investigation that should be completed within five days, and a report to be submitted to the Council of Ministers", it said.

The cabinet also fired the director-general of the Baghdad health department in the al-Rusafa area, where the hospital is located, and the hospital's director of engineering and maintenance, according to a statement from the Health Ministry and the prime minister's office.

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They are being questioned and nobody, Kadhemi said, will be released "until those who have done wrong are brought to justice".

United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeannine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed his "shock and pain".

On Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 cases in Iraq surpassed one million, the highest of any Arab state.

The injured and patients who weren't hurt have been taken by ambulance to other hospitals nearby.

The health ministry has recorded more than 15,000 deaths since the country's first infections were reported in February 2020, and has carried out around 40,000 tests daily from a population of 40 million.

Although Iraq has received numerous vaccines, through government purchases and foreign donations, demand for the shots remains sluggish.

Around 300,000 people had received at least one dose as of Sunday, the ministry said.

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