Baghdad, Jul 14 (EFE).- The Iraqi Health Ministry on Wednesday said that 60 people died in a blaze that tore through a Covid-19 isolation ward at a southern Iraqi hospital, lowering the official death toll after the state-run news agency INA had reported 92 deaths on Tuesday.
The ministry said in a statement that 21 bodies retrieved from the rubble of the isolation unit at the Imam al-Hussein hospital in Nasiriyah city in Dhi Qar province remain unidentified.
Necessary measures to identify them are underway, according to the statement.
The Health Ministry said the official death count was reported after the provincial health authorities and forensic experts completed their work.
On Tuesday, INA quoted the Dhi Qar health department claiming there were 92 casualties, which the ministry has called “incorrect.”
Preliminary investigations indicate that the Monday night fire started after an oxygen cylinder exploded.
Health director of Dhi Qar Saddam al-Tawil resigned shortly after the fire broke out, while the authorities launched an investigation and issued arrest warrants for 13 employees at the Dhi Qar health department.
In April, a massive fire ripped through a hospital in Baghdad after an oxygen tank exploded and killed 82 people and wounded more than 100 others. It led to the resignation of Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi.
Iraq is experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, with 9,000 new infections officially registered per day.
Only 1% of the population is vaccinated. EFE