The health minister said nine people had died when an oxygen cylinder exploded at an intensive care unit treating Kovid-19 patients in Turkey.
The fire broke out at a privately run Sanco University Hospital unit in Gaziantep, 530 miles (850 kilometers) southeast of Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. He cited a hospital statement which identified between 56 and 85 victims. The fire was quickly brought under control.
The statement said that 14 patients undergoing intensive care were transferred to other hospitals. The investigation is ongoing.
Health Minister Fahretin Koka tweeted that nine people had died in the blaze, with the hospital and the governor’s office in Gaziantep predicting eight deaths. No explanation was found for the difference.
The governor’s office said 19 patients were in the unit when a “high pressure oxygen device” exploded at 4.45am (1.45pm). No one was injured in the blaze.
According to official figures, intensive care units in Turkey currently have a coronavirus outbreak rate of 74% per bed, although medical associations say that figure is high and their hospitals are overcrowded with Kovid-19 patients. .
As of Friday evening, Turkey’s health ministry had registered 26,410 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total to 1.98 million since March. The figures also include cases of inequality, which were not reported in the four months to the end of November, criticizing the government for trying to hide the extent of the country’s spread.
The daily record high of 246 Kovid-19 deaths was reported in Turkey on Friday, with a total of 17,610 deaths reported.