Coronavirus
ROU | Nov 14, 2020

Fire kills 10 at Romanian COVID-19 hospital

/ Our Today

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Firefighter ladders on the walls of the hospital in Piatra Neamt, where a fire killed 10 at COVID-19 intensive care unit, in Piatra Neamt, Romania, November 14 2020. (Inquam Photos/tvmneant.ro/Flavius Corfu via REUTERS)


BUCHAREST (Reuters)

Ten people died on Saturday in a fire at a Romanian hospital treating coronavirus patients, the country’s agency for emergency situations (ISU) said.

The blaze broke out in the intensive care unit of the Piatra Neamt county hospital and spread to an adjoining room. It was unclear what triggered it, officials said.

Seven other people were injured and in a critical condition, including the doctor on call, they said.

Prosecutors said they would investigate the cause of the fire.

Medical staff dressed in protection gear move a COVID-19 patient, who was affected by a fire in the intensive care unit at the Piatra Neamt hospital, to an ambulance in Piatra Neamt, Romania, November 14, 2020. (Inquam Photos/tvmneamt.ro/Flavius Corfu via REUTERS)

Health Minister Nelu Tataru told reporters six surviving patients would be transferred to a COVID-19 hospital in the eastern Romanian city of Iasi.

The injured doctor, who had severe burns on 40 per cent of his body, would be transferred to a hospital in the capital Bucharest, Tataru said.

“In future legislation, all public hospitals will be coordinated by the health ministry,” Tataru said without elaborating. Local hospitals are currently run by county councils, making overall supervision of the health system difficult.

Tataru said the Piatra Neamt hospital would continue to run an intensive care unit on a separate floor.

The fire was the country’s deadliest since 2015, when a night club in the capital Bucharest burned down and 65 people died.

That blaze triggered mass protests across Romania at the country’s culture of graft and lack of accountability.

Medical staff rush with stretchers to move COVID-19 patients that where affected by a fire in the hospital in Piatra Neamt, where a fire killed 10 at coronavirus disease (COVID-19) intensive care unit, in Piatra Neamt, Romania, November 14 2020. (Inquam Photos/tvmneant.ro/Flavius Corfu via REUTERS)

Romania, which has one of the European Union’s least developed healthcare infrastructures, has reported 353,185 coronavirus cases and 8,813 deaths.

Just under 13,000 people with COVID-19 were in hospital across Romania on Saturday, including 1,172 in intensive care units.

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