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Fire Kills 7 Coronavirus Patients in India COVID-19 Facility

Fire Kills 7 Coronavirus Patients in India COVID-19 Facility

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 - 06:15
A woman wearing a protective face mask speaks with healthcare workers during a house-to-house campaign to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, in the Mallasa neighborhood of La Paz, Bolivia, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

A fire killed seven coronavirus patients early Sunday at a southern Indian hotel being used as a COVID-19 facility, officials said, in the second such incident this month.

The blaze at Hotel Swarna Palace in the city of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh state broke out at 5 a.m. Rescue teams evacuated those trapped in the multistory building, said Senior police officer Srinivasulu, who uses only one name.

At least 22 people were brought to hospitals, he said.

The fire was brought under control but the smoke was still billowing out from the building, he said.

Srinivasulu said that an electrical short-circuit appeared to be the cause of the fire.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and assured survivors of all possible support.

This the second fire incident at a COVID-19 facility in India this month. On Thursday, eight people were killed in a fire in the intensive care unit of a private COVID-19 designated hospital in Ahmedabad in Gujarat state.

Fires are common in buildings in India because of poor safety standards with inadequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.

-Doctors Seek Support-

The Indian Medical Association says 196 doctors have died of COVID-19 so far and, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requested adequate care for physicians and their families.

The Health Ministry on Sunday recorded nearly 64,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 2,153,010. At least 628,747 patients are still undergoing treatment.

India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June and has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2% is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.

Even as India has maintained comparatively low mortality rates, the disease has spread widely across the country.

India also recorded 861 fatalities, driving the death toll to 43,379.

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