Iraqi health officials say 50 die in coronavirus ward fire

Jul 12, 2021, 2:32 PM | Updated: 6:15 pm

BAGHDAD (AP) — A fire swept through a coronavirus ward in southern Iraq, killing at least 50 people and injuring dozens more, Iraqi medical officials said late Monday.

The officials said all those who died suffered severe burns during the blaze at al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in the southern city of Nasiryah. At least 50 people were killed and others were in critical condition, they said.

The officials said the fire was caused by an electric short circuit, but did not provide more detail. Another health official in Dhi Qar province, where Nasiriyah is located, said the fire erupted when an oxygen cylinder exploded.

The Health Ministry has not provided an official account of the cause of the fire.

The new ward, opened just three months ago, contained 70 beds, said two medical officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Ammar al-Zamili, spokesman for the Dhi Qar health department, told local media there were at least 63 patients inside the ward when the fire began. Maj. Gen. Khalid Bohan, head of Iraq’s civil defense, said in comments to the press that the building was constructed from flammable materials and prone to fire.

It was the second time a large fire has killed coronavirus patients in an Iraqi hospital this year. At least 82 people died at Ibn al-Khateeb hospital in Baghdad in April when an oxygen tank exploded, sparking the blaze.

That incident brought to light widespread negligence and systemic mismanagement in Iraq’s hospitals. Doctors have decried lax safety rules, especially around oxygen cylinders.

Iraq is in the midst of another severe COVID-19 wave. Daily coronavirus rates peaked last week at 9,000 new cases.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehi...
Associated Press

Lithuanian crowdfunding drive gets Ukraine an armed drone

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania will present a combat drone to Ukraine that was donated by the Turkish manufacturer after a private crowdfunding campaign among ordinary Lithuanians, who raised nearly 6 million euros ($6.1 million) for the purpose within days. The campaign’s success inspired Turkey’s Baykar defense company, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drone, to […]
7 hours ago
Abortion-rights activists chant after handcuffing themselves to the front steps of Los Angeles City...
Associated Press

EU Parliament condemns US abortion ruling, seeks safeguards

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly condemned the end of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States and called for such safeguards to be enshrined in the EU’s fundamental rights charter. In a 324-155 vote with 38 abstentions, European Parliament lawmakers adopted a resolution that crystalized the anger seen in […]
7 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a gas station as a customer walks past in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursd...
Associated Press

U.S. jobless claims rise to 235k, most in nearly six months

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and while layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and […]
7 hours ago
FILE - From left, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and...
Associated Press

Conservative contenders who could succeed Boris Johnson

LONDON (AP) — A Conservative leadership contest will take place in coming weeks after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday he is resigning as the party’s leader — though he will continue to serve as prime minister until a successor is elected by party members. A look at the candidates who could succeed Johnson […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Rights groups say probe into Egypt economist’s death flawed

CAIRO (AP) — Two leading human rights groups on Thursday accused Egyptian authorities of failing to conduct an impartial and transparent investigation into the suspicious death of an economic researcher in custody. In a joint statement, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused Egyptian prosecutors of having turned a blind eye to “mounting evidence” that […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Pleasure boats tied to a pier rest on dry ground of the water depleted Zezere River due to d...
Associated Press

Heat, drought and wildfires: Torrid spell torments Portugal

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal is bracing for a heat wave, with temperatures in some areas forecast to climb as high as 43 C (109 F) this weekend just as a severe drought grips the country. The Civil Protection Agency, a Portuguese government body that coordinates official responses to emergencies, said Thursday it is placing […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Iraqi health officials say 50 die in coronavirus ward fire