Electrical fire in Egyptian Covid-19 ward kills two

Several health services around the world warn that Covid-19 wards are more vulnerable to fire due to high oxygen usage

FILED - 26 April 2021, Egypt, Cairo: Doctor Saleh Alhosseiny (2nd R) and nurses, adjust an oxygen mask to a Covid-19 patient inside the Intensive Care Unit of Heliopolis hospital, which is currently serving as an isolation hospital for Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. Photo: Fadel Dawood/dpa (Photo by Fadel Dawood/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Two Covid-19 patients were killed when a fire broke out early on Wednesday morning at a hospital’s intensive care unit in Egypt’s Nile delta, a local government spokesman said. Another two patients suffered injuries.

Ahmed El Samahy, spokesman for the local government of Kafr El Sheikh province north of Cairo, said the ICU unit had 16 Covid-19 patients when a short circuit caused the fire on the hospital’s second floor.

The two who died in the fire were in critical condition, said Mr El Samahy.

Egypt is in the grip of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with official figures showing the daily number of infections and fatalities in the past two weeks hovering around 1,100 and 60 respectively, over the past two weeks.

However, experts and officials believe that while the Health Ministry figures are an accurate reflection of the pandemic’s curve, they are a small fraction of the actual number of cases and fatalities because of limited testing.

Cases that are treated outside the state health sector are also not included in the official figures.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 239,740 Egyptians contracted Covid-19 since the pandemic began 15 months ago and another 14,033 died of the virus.

Wednesday’s fire in Kafr El Sheikh is the second deadly incident to hit a hospital in Egypt where Covid-19 cases are treated. In January, four patients died from lack of oxygen at a hospital’s ICU in El Sharqyah province, also in the Nile Delta.