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.”
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.