Turkish hospital fire kills 9 Covid-19 patients

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A healthcare worker prepares to collect samples.
A healthcare worker prepares to collect samples.
Ander Gillenea, AFP

At least nine coronavirus patients died on Saturday after an oxygen tank explosion triggered a fire at a hospital in south eastern 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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