The Health Minister said that nine people died after an oxygen cylinder burst in an intensive care unit treating Kovid-19 patients in Turkey.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said the fire broke out at the private Sanko University Hospital in Gaziantep, located 530 miles (850 km) southeast of Istanbul. It cited hospital statements identifying victims between 56 and 85. The fire was quickly contained.
The statement said that 14 intensive care patients have been transferred to other hospitals. An investigation is underway.
Health Minister Fahrtin Koka tweeted that nine people died in the fire, raising the earlier estimate of eight dead by the hospital and Gaziantep’s governor’s office. There was no explanation for the discrepancy.
The governor’s office said there were 19 patients in the unit when the high-pressure oxygen device exploded at 4.45 pm (1.45GMM). No other people were injured in the blaze.
According to government data, intensive care units in Turkey currently have a 74% bed occupancy rate as a result of coronavirus outbreaks, although medical associations say the figure is higher and their hospitals are overrun with Kovid-19 patients.
Turkey’s Ministry of Health reported 26,410 new coronovirus cases on Friday, a total of the country’s total from March to 1.98 million. The figure includes asymptomatic cases that Ankara had not reported in four months until the end of November, sparking criticism that the government was trying to hide the extent of the country’s outbreak.
Turkey on Friday recorded a record 246 Kovid-19 related deaths daily, totaling 17,610.