Nine people have died after an oxygen cylinder exploded at an intensive care unit treating 19 Kovid patients in Turkey, the health minister said.
The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that a fire broke out at the private Sanko University Hospital in Gaziantep, southeast of Istanbul. This is cited in a hospital statement which identified the victims as between 56 and 65 years old. Quickly brings the fire under control.
The statement said 14 intensive care patients had been transferred to other hospitals. An investigation is underway.
Health Minister Faheretin Koka tweeted that nine people had died in the fire and that the hospital and the Gaziantep governor’s office had raised initial estimates of eight deaths. There was no explanation for this significance.
The governor’s office said 19 patients were in the unit when a high-pressure oxygen device exploded at 4.45am (1.44pm). No one was injured in the blaze.
Turkey’s intensive care unit currently has a 74% bed occupancy rate, according to official figures, although medical agencies say that number is high and their hospitals are overflowing with Kovid-19 patients.
Turkey’s health ministry on Friday reported 2,410 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total to 1.98 million since March. The figure includes incomplete cases, which Ankara did not report until the end of November in four months, criticizing the government for trying to cover up the extent of the country’s outbreak.
Turkey also reported a record high of 246 Kovid-19 related deaths on Friday, standing at a total of 17,610.