Fire kills 11 COVID-19 patients as India posts record rise in infections

Eleven patients have died after a fire at a coronavirus treatment facility in India, as the country posted a record daily rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The blaze, the country’s second such incident in four days, ripped through the Hotel Swarna Palace in the city of Vijayawada, southeast India, on Sunday morning.

The hotel was being used as a COVID-19 facility.

Rescue workers carrying the body of a patient who died in the fire
Image: The blaze was India’s second such incident in four days

Rescue teams worked to save those trapped in the multi-storey building and 22 people have been taken to hospital, a police spokesman said.

An electrical short-circuit appeared to be the cause of the fire, which broke out at around 5am and was brought under control after several hours, the spokesman added.

Indian Prime Narendra Modi said he was “anguished” by the blaze, adding: “My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones.

“I pray that the injured recover as soon as possible.”

More from Covid-19

Home minister Amit Shah tweeted: “Deeply anguished by the news of tragic fire accident at a COVID-19 facility in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

“Centre assures all possible support to the state government. My condolences are with the affected families in this time of grief. Praying for the speedy recovery of those injured.”

Rupesh Kumar
Inside India’s growing COVID-19 problem

On Thursday, eight people were killed in a fire in the intensive care unit of a private COVID-19-designated hospital in Ahmedabad, western India.

Fires are common in many buildings in India because of poor safety standards, with inadequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

The latest blaze came as India recorded a record daily jump in coronavirus cases on Sunday, with 64,399 new infections.

It is the third consecutive day that COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 60,000 in India.

Health workers test carry out coronavirus tests at a school in Mumbai
Image: Health workers carry out coronavirus tests at a school in Mumbai

More than 2,153,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in India, the world’s third highest total behind the US and Brazil, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.

A total of 43,379 people infected with COVID-19 have died in India.