At least seven people have died after a fire broke out in an intensive care unit in an Egyptian hospital. The fire was in the coronavirus ward of a private hospital in Alexandria.
The source of the fire is thought to be an electric short-circuit in the air conditioning unit on the ward. Nurses heard the unit explode and tried to put out the flames but the ward was engulfed in thick smoke, according to AP.
It’s the second such fire over the course of the pandemic after a fire broke out last month at a coronavirus isolation centre in Cairo. Medics have been warning since the start of Egypt’s pandemic that the healthcare system is about to collapse partly because of chronic underfunding and outdated equipment after years of government neglect.
Already entire hospitals and departments across the country have had to shut their doors after becoming overwhelmed with Covid cases and large numbers of infections among the medical staff.
Doctors have complained that there is not enough space in ICU centres whilst Egyptians have resorted to social media to try and find beds.
In one widely shared case, a video was posted of a woman asleep on the pavement outside a hospital after being rejected from several health care centres due to lack of beds and sufficient medication.
Despite this, the government is restarting its economy with restaurants, cafes, churches and mosques opening their doors.
The country’s medical union has warned that this could overwhelm the healthcare system.
Egypt officially has 66,754 total cases and 2,872 deaths though experts have warned the real figure is likely to be far higher due to lack of testing and government attempts to control the narrative in a bid to appear as though they are in control.