Fire kills several Covid-19 ICU patients at hospital near India's Mumbai » EntornoInteligente

Fire kills several Covid-19 ICU patients at hospital near India’s Mumbai

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Entornointeligente.com / The fire at a hospital in the outskirts of Mumbai occurred two days after 24 coronavirus patients on ventilators died due to an oxygen leak in a hospital in Maharashtra state. A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease is evacuated from a hospital after it caught fire in Virar, on the outskirts of Mumbai, India, April 23, 2021. (Reuters) At least 13 Covid-19 patients have died in a hospital fire in the latest tragedy to hit India's health care system as it buckles under a devastating wave of infections.

The outbreak has been blamed on a new virus variant and lax government rules allowing huge religious and political gatherings to take place in recent months.

The latest fire broke out in the hospital in the outskirts of Mumbai at around 3:00 am (2130 GMT) on Friday, a local official told AFP. It has since been put out and the cause was being investigated.

“There were 17 patients inside when a fire broke out in the ICU of Vijay Vallabh Hospital, out of which 13 died and four have been shifted to other facilities,” fire department official Morrison Khavari said.

An explosion in the air conditioning unit of the intensive care unit preceded the fire, the Press Trust of India news agency cited state government official Vivekanand Kadam as saying.

India's health care system has long suffered from underfunding and the new Covid outbreak has seen critical shortages in oxygen, drugs and hospital beds, sparking desperate pleas for help.

Earlier this week, 22 Covid-19 patients died at another hospital in the same state when the oxygen supply to their ventilators was disrupted by a leak.

And four patients died when a blaze broke out in a private hospital in Maharashtra earlier this month.

In March a fire at a Mumbai clinic killed 11.

READ MORE:  Several babies killed as hospital catches fire in India

READ MORE: Several dead in India as fire engulfs building with Covid-19 hospital

Surging virus

India has recorded around four million new infections this month alone, dashing hopes at the start of the year that the country may have weathered the worst of the pandemic.

The surge in infections has been partially blamed on large-scale outdoor events including the vast Kumbh Mela gathering in Haridwar, which between January and this week attracted an estimated 25 million Hindu pilgrims, mostly without masks or social distancing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set on Friday to hold at least three crisis meetings on oxygen supplies and the availability of critical medicines.

The capital New Delhi continues to be among the worst hit, with hundreds of thousands of new infections and many new hospitalisations in the last few days.

Health experts say India became complacent during the winter, when daily cases were about 10,000 and seemed to be under control, and lifted restrictions to allow big gatherings.

“Indians let down their collective guard. Instead of being bombarded with messages exhorting us to be vigilant, we heard self-congratulatory declarations of victory from our leaders, now cruelly exposed as mere self-assured hubris,” wrote Zarir F Udwadia, a pulmonologist and a member of the Maharashtra state government's task force, in the Times of India.

Dwindling oxygen supplies

Medical oxygen and beds have become scarce with major hospitals putting notices they had no space to take in patients.

Hospitals in the city have been posting daily desperate appeals over depleting oxygen supplies to the state and national government.

“SOS – Less than an hour's oxygen supplies at Max Smart Hospital & Max Hospital Saket. Awaiting promised fresh supplies from INOX since 1 am… Over 700 patients admitted, need immediate assistance,” Max Healthcare, one of the biggest private hospital chains, said on Twitter early Friday morning.

Other private hospital chains in the region have posted similar video messages and social media posts in recent days.

READ MORE: Oxygen leak in India hospital kills patients amid crippling Covid surge

At least six hospitals ran out of oxygen supplies in the Indian capital late Thursday night, with several others left with just a few hours' worth.

“25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hrs Oxygen will last another 2 hrs… Major crisis likely. Lives of another 60 sickest patients at risk, need urgent intervention,” the medical director of the Sir Gangaram Hospital in New Delhi said in a statement.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies
LINK ORIGINAL: Trtworld

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