More than 40 people have been killed and around 67 others were injured after a massive fire broke out in a Covid-19 isolation ward at a hospital in Iraq's southern city of Nassiriya. The blaze at the Al-Hussein hospital was put out hours later on Monday, said reports. The cause of the fire is still unclear, but initial reports indicate that it started when an oxygen tank exploded.
"The victims died of burns and the search is continuing," Haydar al Zamili, a spokesperson for the local health authorities, said late on Monday. There are fears there are many victims still trapped inside the building, he added.
Maj. Gen. Khalid Bohan, head of Iraq's civil defense, said in comments to the press that the building was constructed from flammable materials and prone to fire.
It was the second time a large fire has killed coronavirus patients in an Iraqi hospital this year. At least 82 people died at Ibn al-Khateeb hospital in Baghdad in April when an oxygen tank exploded, sparking the blaze.