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Hospital fire in India kills 18 patients

Hospital fire in India kills 18 patients
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A fire at a coronavirus ward in a hospital in India killed 18 patients Saturday as the country grapples with one of the worst spikes in cases since the pandemic began.

The fire erupted at a COVID-19 ward on the ground floor of the Welfare Hospital in Bharuch and was extinguished in less than an hour, according to The Associated Press. Thirty-one patients were rescued. 

The fire follows another one in late April that killed 13 COVID-19 patients in a hospital near Mumbai.

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The fire coincides with a significant coronavirus crisis in India.

The country tallied 400,000 cases Saturday alone, shattering its own record for single daily cases.

The spike in cases and deaths has stretched the limits of India’s health system, with hospitals reportedly facing dire shortages of critical tools like ventilators, oxygen and vaccine materials, leading to reports of patients dying while waiting to receive the necessary care. 

To combat the spread of the virus, India on Saturday opened coronavirus vaccinations to all adults.

The U.S. has also commenced aid flights to India on Thursday to deliver more than $100 million worth of assistance, including oxygen cylinders, concentrators that obtain oxygen out of the air, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid tests along with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.