Iraq: Fire kills dozens of COVID-19 patients in Baghdad hospital

At least 27 people have died in a fire at a Baghdad hospital treating COVID-19 patients.

The fire broke out at Ibn Khatib hospital in the Diyala Bridge area of the Iraqi capital after an accident caused an oxygen tank to explode.

Forty-six people were injured and around 90 people were transferred to other hospitals, according to state news agency INA.

The fire started on a floor designated for patients in the pulmonary intensive care unit.

The head of the country’s civil defence unit said on Saturday night that the fire had been put out.

Iraq‘s healthcare system had been ruined by decades of sanctions, war, and neglect, even before it was stretched further by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 1,025,288 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Iraq and 15,217 people have died, the health ministry has reported.

Around 8,000 new cases are reported each day and, despite government pleas for people to get vaccinated, many Iraqis do not trust the health system or vaccines.

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