5 COVID-19 patients die in Guj hospital fire; SC takes note

Five coronavirus patients diedafter a fire broke out in the ICU of a designated COVID-19hospital at Rajkot in Gujarat on Friday, officials said.

The Supreme Court took cognizance of the fire incidentand sought a report from Gujarat government on the issue.

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said 26patients at the hospital were rescued and shifted to otherfacilities.

The fire broke out around 12.30 am in the ICU wardlocated on the first floor of the four-storey Uday ShivanandHospital in Anand Bungalow Chowk area, where around 31patients were admitted, Patel added.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed griefover the incident and ordered a probe into it. He alsoannounced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of eachdeceased.

Rajkot Police Commissioner Manoj Agarwal said, “Out ofthe 11 coronavirus patients admitted to the ICU ward, fivelost their lives in the fire, which was quickly brought undercontrol before it could spread to other floors.” Patel said the blaze broke out in the ICU ward and wasbrought under control within half an hour by the fire brigade.

While three coronavirus patients died on the spot, two otherssuccumbed to the injuries while they were being shifted toanother hospital, he added.

“Nobody else was injured in the incident. Twenty-sixother patients, including those who were undergoing treatmenton the upper floors, were shifted to other hospitals,” Patelsaid.

Preliminary probe revealed that the fire was a resultof short circuit in a ventilator, he said, adding that theprivate hospital had fire NOC and all the firefightingequipment was installed there.

The Chief Ministers Office said senior IAS officer AKRakesh would carry out the probe into the incident.

In August, eight COVID-19 patients were killed after afire broke out on the top floor of a four-storey privatehospital in Ahmedabad.

In the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta,appearing for the Centre, assured the bench that the Unionhome secretary will convene a meeting latest by Saturday andissue directions on fire safety in government hospitals acrossIndia.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M RShah, while taking note of the surge in COVID19 cases in thecountry, said that states have to rise to the occasion and beabove politics to deal with the pandemic.

It is high time that strict measures are taken toimplement the policy, guidelines and Standard OperatingProcedures (SOPs) to contain the surge of coronavirus casesnationwide, the bench said.

Mehta told the bench that the ongoing COVID-19 waveappears to be harsher than before and ten states are currentlycontributing 77 per cent of the total positive cases.

The bench observed that strict measures are needed todeal with the situation and posted the matter for furtherhearing on December 1.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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