Moscow, May 12 (efe-epa).- At least five Russian Covid-19 patients died on Tuesday in a hospital fire in St Petersburg.
The blaze is believed to have been caused by a short-circuit in a ventilator in an intensive care unit, according to local emergency services.
All those who died were patients on ventilators.
“Ventilators are working on the brink of collapse,” an official source from St Petersburg told Russian news agency Interfax.
“According to preliminary data, there was an overload and a machine ignited which caused the fire.”
The incident, which covered an area of ??10 square metres, occurred on the sixth floor of the St George Hospital in Russia’s second-biggest city.
Around 150 people, including patients and medical personnel, were evacuated from the building.
There have been no reports of how many people have been injured.
“According to preliminary data, five people died as a result of the fire at the hospital located on Severnyi Proezd Street,” a source from the emergency services told Russia’s official RIA Novosti news agency.
The fire was the second in three days in an intensive care unit in a Russian hospital.
On Saturday, one patient died and another three were injured in a blaze in a Moscow hospital that cares for Covid-19 patients.
St Petersburg has been the third-worst affected area in Russia by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 7,700 confirmed cases and 56 deaths in the city.
The country overtook the United Kingdom and Italy with the number of Covid-19 infections for the first time since the start of the outbreak, health authorities reported on Monday.
There have been more than 221,300 reported infections and 2,000 deaths out of its population of 145 million.
Officials in the UK and Italy have each reported around 220,000 cases and around 30,000 fatalities.
The number of infections in Russia has more than doubled since 30 April when this figure exceeded 100,000, which officials have attributed to a rise in the number of tests being carried out.
Moscow has been at the focus of the pandemic in the country with 115,909 cases, including 6,169 reported in the last 24 hours. EFE-EPA