At least nine people have died after a fire broke out at a hospital in Romania’s port city of Constanta.
All other patients had been evacuated from Constanta’s Hospital for Infectious Diseases and the fire had been extinguished by mid-morning on Friday, Romania’s emergency situations inspectorate said.
The health ministry said that 113 patients were in the medical unit of the hospital, 10 of whom were intensive care unit patients.
All the victims were in the intensive care unit of Constanta’s Hospital for Infectious Diseases, said Constantin Amarandei, head of the city’s emergency inspectorate. Only one patient from the ICU survived.
Romania, a European Union country of 19 million, has had two other deadly hospital fires within the past year, which has raised concerns about the country’s ageing hospital infrastructure.
Last November, 10 people died after a fire tore through an intensive care unit for Covid-19 patients in the northern town of Piatra Neamt.
Another blaze in January engulfed a ward at Bucharest’s Matei Bals hospital, killing five people.
President Klaus Iohannis said that the Romanian state “has failed in its fundamental mission to protect its citizens”.
“I am horrified by the tragedy that took place this morning at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Constanta,” he said. “It is a terrible new drama that confirms the deficient infrastructure of the Romanian health system.”
President Iohannis said that Romania’s “outdated” health care system has been put under an “unimaginable pressure” by the pandemic.
Romania’s hospitals are struggling due to a rapid surge of Covid-19 infections, which is stretching the country’s hospitals to maximum capacity.