Five coronavirus patients have been killed and about 150 evacuated after a fire suspected to have been caused by a lung ventilator in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Russia, according to the country’s emergency ministry.
The Saint George hospital in St Petersburg where the incident happened on Tuesday said it would stop using the Aventa-M model of lung ventilators until the criminal investigation into the cause of the fire was completed, the Tass news agency reported.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to save five people,” said Aleksei Alikin, the head of the Emergency Services branch in St Petersburg.
Earlier local media reports cited unnamed sources from the ministry saying that the cause of the fire was overloaded ventilators.
“Ventilators are at their limit. According to preliminary data, there was an overload and the machine ignited, which caused the fire,” one source told Interfax news agency.
The Saint George hospital had recently been re-purposed to treat coronavirus patients, Tass reported.
On Saturday, one person was killed when a fire broke out at a Moscow hospital dedicated to coronavirus patients.
On Tuesday, Russia reported 10,899 new cases of the coronavirus in the preceding 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 232,243, the third-highest total worldwide.
The country’s coronavirus response centre said the death toll from the virus rose by 107 people to 2,116.
The government says it has carried out more than 5.6 million tests and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Monday vowed to double capacity to 300,000 tests daily by mid-May.