Baghdad hospital fire kills 82: Iraq PM orders investigation

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi announced Sunday an urgent investigation into a fire at a hospital in southeastern Baghdad that killed at least 82 people and wounded 110 others a day earlier.

Driving the news: Kadhimi has given investigators 24 hours to report back over the fire, which started on a floor designated for the pulmonary intensive care unit of the Ibn al-Khatib hospital after an accident caused an oxygen tank to explode, according to officials.

  • Hospital officials and those responsible for Ibn al-Khatib’s maintenance are also under investigation, according to Kadhimi, who declared three days of national mourning.

What they’re saying: “I say it frankly, the incident is a violation of the Iraqi national security, and it is a setback in every sense of the word,” Kadhimi said in a statement.

  • “We must not let such events go unnoticed.”

The big picture: “Iraq’s healthcare system, already ruined by decades of sanctions, war and neglect, has been stretched during the coronavirus crisis,” Reuters noted.

  • The hospital provides care for severe COVID-19 patients, per AP.
  • For the past four days, the country has recorded more than 8,000 new coronavirus cases a day — the highest daily counts since the pandemic began.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Source: Axios Breaking News

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