North Macedonia: Fire kills numerous patients at COVID hospital

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A fire at a hospital treating COVID-19 patients has claimed the lives of at least 10 people in North Macedonia. Its not yet clear how the large blaze started — or how many patients were inside.

At least 10 people have been killed and many more injured after a fire broke at a hospital set up for COVID-19 patients in Tetovo, North Macedonia.

The country’s Health Minister Venko Filipce confirmed the deaths on Twitter, saying: “A terrible accident has happened in Tetovo. At the moment, 10 people are confirmed to have died, but that number could rise.”a man standing in front of a store: Injured patients and medical staff were raced to hospitals in the capital Skopje© Arbnora Memeti/DW Injured patients and medical staff were raced to hospitals in the capital Skopjehttps://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1435721399008641030&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dw.com%2Fen%2Fnorth-macedonia-fire-kills-numerous-patients-at-covid-hospital%2Fa-59128551&sessionId=45fb7fd4f9fcd063587f979b5302df8ea23f0e0c&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1890d59c%3A1627936082797&width=550px

Emergency services scrambled

Fire services raced to the scene around 9 p.m. local time (1900 UTC), and fought to douse the flames for a couple of hours.

Local news showed footage of large flames engulfing the facility that was built last year to help care for COVID-19 patients.

According to the Health Ministry, injured medical personnel and patients were being taken to hospitals in the capital city, Skopje which lies 45 kilometers (28 miles) to the east.a group of people standing in a room: North Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said there had been a blast at the hospital in Tetovo© Arbnora Memeti/DW North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said there had been a blast at the hospital in Tetovo

Claims of a blast at the site of the fire

While the cause of the fire has yet to be established, the country’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev posted on social media that the fire had followed an on-site explosion.

North Macedonia has been battling a surge in COVID-19 cases recently. There have been 701 new infections and 24 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The government has had to impose stricter measures as a result. AdChoices

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