Deadly blaze breaks out in a COVID-19 ward as India becomes first country to have more than 400,000 cases in one day.
A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India killed 18 patients as the country grappling with the world’s worst outbreak stepped up a vaccination drive for all adults even though some states say they do not have enough jabs.
India on Saturday set yet another daily global record with 401,993 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to more than 19.1 million. Another 3,523 people died in the past 24 hours, raising the overall fatalities to 211,853, according to the health ministry. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.
The fire broke out in a COVID-19 ward on the ground floor and was extinguished within an hour, police said. The cause was being investigated.
It started around midnight in the intensive care ward of the Patel Welfare Hospital, a designated COVID-19 facility, in Bharuch city, 185km (115 miles) north of state’s main commercial city, Ahmedabad.
“Sixteen patients and two staff members have died in the fire. Twelve of them died due to fire and smoke,” said RV Chudasama, a superintendent of police in Bharuch. “Preliminary investigation shows the fire was caused because of a short circuit.”
But Dushyant Patel, a state government official, said leakage from an oxygen cylinder in the intensive care unit started the blaze.