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Fire at Romanian Covid-19 hospital leaves four dead

The blaze broke out on the ground floor of the hospital in Bucharest.

Image: AP/PA Images

A FIRE AT a hospital in Bucharest where Covid-19 patients were being treated has killed at least four people.

The fire broke out on the ground floor of the Matei Bals hospital and forced the evacuation of a building that houses 100 people.

An unspecified number of people were injured before firefighters put out the blaze, Romanian emergency services said in a preliminary report.

Hours later, charred balconies could be seen at the hospital, where health authorities organised the start of the anti-virus vaccination in Romania.

The Balkan country of some 19 million people has reported more than 700,000 cases and 18,000 deaths.

Romania is still reeling from a similar tragedy in November, when ten people suffering from Covid-19 died in a fire in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the northeastern town of Piatra Neamt.

Five others injured in the fire later died of their injuries.

The prosecutor general has opened an enquiry into the tragedy, while the health ministry has suggested the fire could have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

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The incident sparked wider safety warnings in a country marked by crumbling infrastructure and a culture of makeshift repairs.

The country of 19 million is one of the poorest in the European Union and is trying to manage the Covid-19 pandemic with a dilapidated and understaffed health system.

- With reporting from AFP

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