On Friday evening, a deadly fire hit a hospital treating Covid-19 patients in Bharuch, a city in the state of Gujarat, in western India. According to some early reports, no less than 15 people had died, some burned in their beds.
Videos posted on social media showed part of the hospital ablaze and patients being evacuated.
The fire at Bharuch Hospital, about 200 miles north of Mumbai, broke out as Covid overwhelms India, which has been beset with deaths and infections in a second wave of Covid-19 that has engulfed the health system in the country of 1.4 billion people.
Two hospital fires in India last week claimed the lives of dozens of coronavirus patients. At least 22 coronavirus patients have died in a Maharashtra state hospital when a leak cut off their oxygen supply. Two days later, a fire at another hospital in the state left at least 13 people dead at Covid-19.
The second wave in India has crammed hospitals to unbearable capacity, depleted oxygen supplies and left desperate people dying in line to see doctors. Mass cremations took place across the country.
Health authorities are now reporting more than 300,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths per day.
An increasing number of countries have reduced travel to and from India. Starting Tuesday, the U.S. government decision will bar most non-U.S. Citizens from entering the U.S. from India, the Biden administration said on Friday.
India’s vaccine industry, a world leader, has been overwhelmed by demand for the Covid-19 vaccine and has restricted exports to meet domestic needs.
Other fires in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients across the world have compounded the devastation as they struggle to meet overwhelming demands for cases and deaths.
Last week, a fire started by the explosion of an oxygen cylinder killed at least 82 people, most of them Covid-19 patients and their relatives, in a Baghdad hospital. The Home Office said 110 other people were injured, many with severe burns succumbing to their injuries.