India hospital fire kills 13 amid Covid oxygen crisis

At least 13 patients have died after a fire broke out in the intensive care unit of an Indian hospital treating Covid patients near Mumbai.

The blaze, which took place early on Friday, was extinguished and four survivors have been moved to nearby hospitals, said authorities.

The incident comes amid a deadly second wave of infections in India.

The spike has overwhelmed hospitals, creating a critical shortage of oxygen, ICU beds and ventilators.

On Friday India recorded 332,730 coronavirus cases, the highest one-day tally seen anywhere in the world for the second day in a row. Daily deaths from Covid-19 rose by a record 2,263 in the previous 24 hours.

The fire happened at the Vijay Vallabh hospital in the Virar area of the western state of Maharashtra, which is about 70km (43 miles) north of Mumbai.

It remains unclear how the blaze started, and Maharashtra’s chief minister has ordered an inquiry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered condolences on Twitter calling the incident “tragic”.

BBC