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Fire in Iraq Hospital Treating Covid-19 Patients Kills 82 People

A fire at a Baghdad hospital treating Covid-19 patients has killed at least 82 people, according to a statement made by Iraqi officials on Sunday. The fire was caused by exploding oxygen canisters that ignited in a hospital ward full of patients on ventilators. The fire set off a scramble to evacuate more than 200 people from the hospital, however, it was difficult to move those being treated with ventilators. Iraq’s interior ministry stated that 110 were injured during the incident.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called the incident “painful,” stating that it was caused by negligence. Mr. al-Khadhimi called for health ministry and senior hospital officials to be questioned by investigators and ordered that other facilities be inspected to prevent future disasters of the same nature. While the investigation occurs, Mr. al-Khadhimi suspended the country’s health minister and the governor of Baghdad. The hospital’s director will also be detained for the duration of the investigation, according to judicial authorities.

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