At least 27 people died and 46 were injured in a fire on Saturday at a hospital in southeastern Baghdad that was equipped to house patients with COVID-19, medical sources at three nearby hospitals said.
The fire at Ibn Khatib hospital in the Diyala Bridge area of the Iraqi capital occurred after an accident caused an oxygen tank to explode, sources said.
Many ambulances were rushing to the hospital, transporting those injured by the fire, a Reuters photographer nearby said.
Patients not injured in the incident were also being transferred out of the hospital, medical sources said.
The head of the Iraqi civil defense unit said the fire started on the floor designated for the pulmonary intensive care unit and that 90 people were rescued from the 120-year-old hospital, he told the state news agency INA.
Major General Kadhim Bohan added that the fire was extinguished.
Iraq’s health care system, already ruined by decades of sanctions, war and neglect, was stretched during the coronavirus crisis.
The total number of people infected with COVID-19 in Iraq is 102,5288 including 15,217 deaths, the health ministry said on Saturday.