At least 10 people died in a fire at Covid hospital in North Macedonia

Photo: EPA Police and forensics officers investigate the site at a burned out makeshift hospital, Tetovo, Republic of North Macedonia, 8 September 2021.

Ten people died in a fire Wednesday evening at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in North Macedonia, news wires reported.The fire broke out following an explosion in a Covid-19 clinic in Tetovo in the northwest of the Balkan country, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said. "A huge tragedy has occurred in the Tetovo Covid-19 centre," he said on Twitter. "An explosion caused a fire. The fire was extinguished but many lives were lost." Zaev immediately headed to Tetovo.

At least 10 people died in the disaster, Health Minister Venko Filipce said. At the moment, 10 people are confirmed to have died, but that number could rise," he said on Twitter.

Several injured people were transported to hospitals in the capital. Later on Thursday the main prosecutor's office in the capital, Skopje, said 14 people had been killed in the blaze, AP reported. There were no medical personnel among them.

The fire occurred as the former Yugoslav republic celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence, with festivities in the capital Skopje, including a military parade, AFP noted.

Investigators have gone to the site to try to determine the cause of the disaster.

The modular Covid unit had only been built last year at the hospital to look after coronavirus patients in Tetovo, a town of around 50,000 people. "The fire was huge because the hospital is modular, there was plastic," Tetovo deputy fire chief Saso Trajcevski told local television.

North Macedonia has a population of around two million and its healthcare services are run down. It has reported a rise in coronavirus infections recently, with the daily death toll reaching around 30. The country has recorded more than 6,100 fatalities in total since the start of the pandemic.

 

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