The latest in a string of fatal accidents, blaze in Mumbai hospital ICU kills 13 COVID patients

Mumbai, April 23 2021: With capital city New Delhi floundering under the influx of hundreds of thousands of new corona cases and hospitalizations, and a reported 4 million COVID infections in April alone, another tragedy in a Mumbai hospital before dawn on Friday has lent a fatal blow to India’s chronically over worked public health system.

A fire broke out in Vijay Vallabh hospital ICU this morning in Mumbai killing 13 COVID-19 patients. According to a fire department official, Morrison Khavari, at the time of the accident, there were 17 patients in the ICU and though the fire is now extinguished, a cause is yet to be determined.This incident was just the latest tragedy to hit India as it battles a vicious new wave of coronavirus infections, with prevalent shortages of oxygen, drugs and hospital beds sparking desperate calls for help.

Earlier this week, an oxygen leak to their ventilator supply led to the deaths of 22 Covid-19 patients at another hospital in the same state. Also in April, four patients died in a fire that broke out in a private hospital in Mahrashtra and last month a fire in a private clinic in Mumbai killed 11 patients.

Lax government regulations on public and religious gatherings and no ban on election campaigns particularly in West Bengal have meant that the underfunded healthcare system is now stretched to the limit. This new slew of cases is attributable to a new virus variant and lax government rules allowing huge religious and political gatherings to take place in recent months.

A mega spreading event, the vast Kumbh Mela gathering in Haridwar, attracted about 25 million Hindu worshipers and pilgrims since January, mostly without masks or social distancing is a major contributor to the current crisis.

Narendra Modi, the Indian premier has decided to hold crisis handling meetings on Friday to discuss the supply of oxygen and other vital medicines.

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