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Hospital fire kills 18 virus patients as India intensifies jabs



NEW DELHI (AP) – A fire at a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India killed 18 patients early on Saturday as the country struggling with the worst outbreak still increases a vaccination run for all its adults, though some states say it has enough shock.

India set another daily global record on Saturday with 401,993 new cases, leading to more than 19.1 million. A further 3,523 people died during the last 24 hours, increasing the total deaths to 211,853 according to the Ministry of Health. Experts believe that both numbers are a sub-number.

The fire broke out in a COVID-1

9 section on the ground floor and was extinguished within an hour, police said. The cause is being investigated.

31 other patients at the Welfare Hospital in Bharuch, a city in the state of Gujarat, were rescued by hospital workers and firefighters and their condition was stable, police officer BM Parmar said. Eighteen others died in the fire and smoke before rescuers could reach them, Parmar said.

On April 23, a fire in an intensive care unit killed 13 COVID-19 patients in the Virar area on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Eight COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died at a hospital in New Delhi after a lack of oxygen supply, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. There was no confirmation from hospital officials.

The New Delhi television news channel also said that a lawyer for the Batra hospital told a court in New Delhi that the hospital ran out of oxygen supply for 80 minutes on Saturday before the tank was refilled.

Hospitals in the Indian capital have complained of emergencies caused by irregular oxygen supply from manufacturers due to the sudden increase in demand.

Faced with an unprecedented rise in cases that have filled hospitals and crematoria, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government described the pandemic as a “crisis that was once in a century.” Modi held a cabinet meeting on Friday that discussed steps to save the country’s crumbling health system by adding hospital beds, solving problems in the production, storage and transport of oxygen and tackling the shortage of essential medicines.

Television footage showed a woman gasping for breath in her car while her family searched for a hospital bed on the outskirts of New Delhi.

The 33-year-old woman could not find a place in three hospitals and died in the car on Friday, the newspaper The Times of India reported.

Eight COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died at a hospital in New Delhi after a lack of oxygen supply, the press release from the Indian News Agency reported. There was no confirmation from hospital officials.

Media reports said a lawyer for Batra Hospital told a court in New Delhi that the hospital ran out of oxygen supply for 80 minutes before the tank was refilled.

Hospitals in the Indian capital have complained about disruptions in the oxygen supply from the manufacturers due to sudden increase in demand caused by the huge increase in coronavirus infections.

The government on Saturday shifted its faltering vaccination campaign into high gear by saying all adults over the age of 18 got their shots.

Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have received a dose, but only about 1.5% have received both, although India is one of the world’s largest producers of vaccines.

Some states have already said they do not have enough doses for everyone. Even the ongoing effort to inoculate people over 45 is the tribe.

The state of Maharashtra has said it will not be able to start on Saturday. Satyender Jain, the health minister of the capital New Delhi, said earlier this week that the city does not have enough doses to vaccinate people between 18 and 44.

The United States, meanwhile, joined a growing list of countries restricting travel from India, the White House said, citing the devastating increase in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of potentially dangerous strains of coronavirus.

President Joe Biden spoke with Modi on Monday about the growing health crisis and promised to send help immediately. This week, the United States began supplying therapy, rapid virus testing and oxygen to India along with some materials needed for India to increase its domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines.

In addition, a CDC team of public health experts was expected to be on site soon to help Indian health officials move to curb the spread of the virus.

Other nations have also sent aid, and the Indian Air Force trafficked oxygen tanks with planes from Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok.

A German military plane with 120 fans to India departed from Cologne on Saturday morning, and other planes with more supplies were planned. On board was also a team of 13 who will help prepare to set up a mobile oxygen production unit that will be flown to India next week, the German news agency dpa said.


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