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Fire kills 13 Covid-19 patients at Indian hospital

People wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus stand in queues to board trains at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai, India (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) 

Thirteen Covid-19 patients have been killed after fire broke out at a hospital in western India.

The blaze at the Vijay Vallabh hospital in the Virar area on the outskirts of Mumbai occurred two days after 24 Covid-19 patients on ventilators died due to an oxygen leak in a hospital in Nashik, another city in Maharashtra state.

The fire on the second floor intensive-care unit was extinguished and some patients requiring oxygen were moved to nearby hospitals, said Dilip Shah, the CEO of the Vijay Vallabh hospital.

The official said there were 90 patients in the hospital, about 43 miles north of Mumbai, India’s financial capital. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that an explosion in the air conditioning system of the intensive care unit preceded the blaze.

The incident comes amid a massive surge in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra state, the worst-hit in the country.

A total of 314,835 infections reported on Thursday raised India’s coronavirus total past 15.9 million cases since the pandemic began.

It is the second-highest infection total in the world, next to the United States. India’s overall death toll stands at 184,657, according to the health ministry.

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