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India: 19 Covid patients dead in fire at Gujarat hospital

PTI, AFP/Bharuch
Filed on May 1, 2021 | Last updated on May 1, 2021 at 02.02 pm

There were around 50 other patients at the hospital when the fire broke out in the Covid-19 ward.


At least 19 coronavirus patients died after a fire broke out at a hospital in Gujarat's Bharuch in the early hours on Saturday.

Gut-wrenching visuals of the tragedy showed remains of some patients on stretchers and beds.

There were around 50 other patients at the four- storeyed Welfare Hospital when the fire broke out in the Covid-19 ward at 1 am. They were rescued by locals and firefighters, an official said.

"As per information at 6.30am, the death count in the tragedy stood at 18. Immediately after the fire, we had confirmation of 12 deaths," a police official told PTI.

The 12 patients in the Covid-19 ward died due to the fire and resultant smoke, Bharuch SP Rajendrasinh Chudasama said.

It is not clear if the remaining six also died in the Welfare hospital or while being shifted to other hospitals.

The Covid-19 designated hospital is situated on the Bharuch-Jambusar highway, around 190 km from the state capital Ahmedabad and is being run by a trust.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, the official said.

Comments The fire was controlled within an hour and around 50 patients were rescued by locals as well as firefighters, a fire official said. They were shifted to nearby hospitals, he added.

On April 23, a fire in an intensive care unit killed 13 Covid-19 patients in the Virar area on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Faced with an unprecedented surge in cases that has filled hospitals and crematoriums, creating a major crisis in a country of 1.4 billion, the government on Saturday shifted its faltering vaccination campaign into high gear by saying all adults 18 and over were getting their shots.

Since January, nearly 10 per cent of Indians have received one dose, but only around 1.5 per cent have received both, though India is one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines.

Some states already said they do not have enough doses for everyone. Even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is stuttering.

The state of Maharashtra has said it won’t be able to start on Saturday. Satyender Jain, the health minister in the capital, New Delhi, said earlier this week that the city doesn’t have enough doses to vaccinate people between 18 and 44.

India on Friday reported another global daily record of 386,452 new cases, pushing the overall toll to more than 18.7 million since the pandemic began, second only to the United States. The Health Ministry also reported 3,498 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.

The US meanwhile joined a growing list of countries restricting travel from India, the White House said, citing a devastating rise in Covid-19 cases and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden spoke Monday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the growing health crisis and pledged to immediately send assistance. This week, the U.S. began delivering therapeutics, rapid virus tests and oxygen to India, along with some materials needed for India to boost its domestic production of Covid-19 vaccines.

Additionally, a CDC team of public health experts was expected to be on the ground soon to help Indian health officials move to slow the spread of the virus.

Other nations have also sent assistance, and the Indian air force airlifted oxygen containers from Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok.





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