Five people were killed in a top Bangladesh hospital on Wednesday (May 27) after a fire swept through a makeshift coronavirus isolation unit.
The blaze occurred in Dhaka’s Gulshan neighbourhood and comes as the country faces a rising number of coronavirus cases.
Fire service official Kamrul Hasan told AFP the fire began when an air conditioner exploded.
“Fire service teams have controlled the fire in around an hour. Five people have died of suffocation due to the fire,” Hasan said.
The blaze quickly raced through the unit due to the presence of flammable items such as sanitizer, Dhaka police deputy commissioner Sudip Kumar Chakraborty said
Police said the fire started at 9.48 pm Bangladesh time and soon engulfed the isolation unit, which was built adjacent to the hospital in recent weeks to treat suspected coronavirus patients.
“Thank God they controlled the fire before it reached the main hospital. Otherwise, it would have been a catastrophe,” he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened in Bangladesh in recent weeks, with the death toll hitting 544 and nearly 40,000 people infected.
Health experts say the number of actual cases and fatalities in Bangladesh is likely much higher, and that the government figures are limited due to low testing levels.