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Coronavirus: Oxygen shortage leaves six COVID-19 patients dead in Pakistan

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At least six COVID-19 patients died after “criminal negligence” resulted in a delayed supply of oxygen to a hospital in northwest Pakistan, officials said Sunday, as the country battles a second wave of the epidemic.

More than 200 patients – including nearly 100 with coronavirus – were left for hours with limited supplies of oxygen at a government-run hospital in Peshawar.

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“The sad incident happened due to lack of central oxygen supply in the hospital,” provincial health minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra told a press conference, confirming the deaths.

“We will hold an inquiry and get to the bottom of the incident,” he added, promising action against those responsible “for this criminal negligence.”

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Hospital spokesman Farhad Khan told AFP a disruption in oxygen supplies affected some 200 people, “including 96 COVID-19 patients.”

He blamed a private supplier, saying the Rawalpindi-based company had “failed to meet the growing demand.”

Pakistan has reported more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus – including over 8,000 deaths - since the virus arrived in late February.

Intensive care units in hospitals across the country are now almost full, with provincial governments struggling to deal with the soaring caseload.

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