Fireplace Strikes Covid Hospital Ward in India.

At least 12 people were killed in a fire early Saturday in a hospital treating coronavirus patients in the western Indian state of Gujarat. A spate of infections and deaths overwhelmed the country and its healthcare system.

The flame broke through the Covid-19 station at Welfare Hospital in the city of Bharuch, about 180 miles north of Mumbai, police said to the Press Trust of India. Around 50 other people were rescued and transferred to other hospitals.

The fire was under control, reported the ANI news agency, and was triggered by a short circuit.

Videos posted on social media showed part of the hospital on fire and patient evacuation.

Several hospital incidents recently claimed the lives of dozens of coronavirus patients in India. Four people were killed in a fire in a hospital in Surat, another city in Gujarat. At least 22 coronavirus patients died in a hospital in the neighboring state of Maharashtra when a leak cut their oxygen supply. Two days later, at least 13 Covid-19 patients died in a fire in another hospital in the state.

The second wave in India has pushed hospitals to unbearable capacity, exhausted oxygen supplies and left desperate people to die in line waiting to see doctors. Mass cremations were held across the country.

Health officials are currently reporting more than 300,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths per day.

A growing number of countries have restricted travel to and from India. As of Tuesday, the American government will prevent most non-US citizens from entering the US from India, the Biden government announced on Friday.

India’s vaunted vaccine industry – a global leader – has been overwhelmed by the demand for Covid-19 vaccines and has restricted exports to meet domestic needs.

Other fires in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients around the world have added to the devastation as they are already struggling to meet the demands of staggering cases and deaths.

Last week, a fire started by an exploding oxygen cylinder killed at least 82 people, most of them Covid-19 patients and their relatives, in a Baghdad hospital. The Home Office said 110 more people were injured, many with severe burns who died from their injuries.

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