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Turkish hospital fire kills 9 Covid-19 patients


Police cordon off the area in front of the privately-run Sanko University Hospital in Gaziantep after nine patients, all infected with Covid-19, died in a fire on December 19, 2020. (Photo by Kadir Gunes / Demiroren News Agency (DHA) / AFP)

At least nine coronavirus patients died on Saturday after an oxygen tank explosion triggered a fire at a hospital in southeastern Turkey, the health ministry said.

The blaze in an intensive care ward of the hospital in Gaziantep broke out when a tank on an artificial respirator exploded.

“We are profoundly saddened by this tragedy,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said before a planned visit to the hospital.

All the victims were patients who had been hospitalised with the coronavirus. Other patients affected by the fire were transferred to other hospitals.

Turkey has recorded more than 1.9 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 17,600 deaths since the pandemic began a year ago.

Faced with a surge in cases, Turkey strengthened restrictions put in place at the end of November with a total curfew during the weekend and partial one during the week.


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