Bucharest – Seven people died on Friday after a fire at a Romanian intensive care unit treating COVID-19 patients, officials said, sparking the country’s third fatal hospital fire in less than a year.
Video footage showed patients jumping out of windows from the hospital’s lower levels and firefighters escorting people out.
The country’s emergency response unit initially said nine people had died, but Transport Minister Lucian Bode later said there had been miscommunication between firefighters and hospital staff.
Firefighters put out the fire at the hospital in the eastern city of Constanta at approximately 07:55 GMT, and brought in additional teams from nearby counties.
Angry relatives of patients gathered outside the hospital in protest and prosecutors have started an investigation into the cause of the fire.
In February, four patients were killed in a fire at a COVID-19 hospital in the capital, Bucharest. Last November, 10 people died in an intensive care unit at Piyatra Neemt County Hospital.
“I am shocked by this tragedy,” President Klaus Iohannes said in a statement. “This is a new terrible drama that confirms the lack of Romania’s healthcare system, which has been put under unimaginable pressure by the fourth wave of the pandemic.”
On Friday, more than 12,500 COVID-19 patients, including 373 children, were being treated in Romanian hospitals, including 1,391 in intensive care units.
The number of new COVID-19 infections in Romania reached 10,887 on Friday, and intensive care units across the country were running out of space, triggering a new wave of infections in the country.
Even before the pandemic, Romania’s healthcare system was under pressure, plagued by corruption, inefficiencies and political management. The country has one of the least developed healthcare infrastructure in the European Union.
The state has built a hospital over the past three decades, has some of the lowest healthcare spending in the European Union, and thousands of doctors and nurses have emigrated.
Reuters contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times