Official says fire at ICU in Egypt hospital kills 2 patients

CAIRO (AP) — A fire broke out in an intensive care unit of an Egyptian hospital Wednesday, leaving at least two patients dead, an official said.

The fire erupted overnight at a government-run hospital in the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh, said Ahmed el-Samahi, a spokesman for the Kafr el-Sheikh province. The hospital is treating those suffering from respiratory diseases. It was unclear if coronavirus patients were present in the ward.

He said there were 16 patients in the unit when the fire broke out at 2:30 a.m. local time. He said the two dead had been in critical condition.

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze, which was caused by an electric short-circuit, el-Samahi said.

Safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced in Egypt and have been linked to many deaths. A fire in December in an intensive care unit at a private hospital in Obour, an outlying district of the greater Cairo area, killed seven coronavirus patients.

Another fire in June last year in a private hospital in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria killed seven patients and injured one.

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