A fire at a hospital treating COVID-19 patients has claimed the lives of at least 10 people in North Macedonia. Its not yet clear how the large blaze started — or how many patients were inside.
Fire broke at a hospital set up for COVID-19 patients in Tetovo, North Macedonia. The country's Health Minister Venko Filipce confirmed the deaths on Twitter. At the moment, 10 people are confirmed to have died, but that number could rise, he said.
Fire services raced to the scene around 9 p.m. local time (1900 UTC), and fought to douse the flames for a couple of hours. The facility was built last year to help care for COVID-19 patients.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev posted on social media that the fire had followed an on-site explosion. "The fire was huge because the hospital is modular, there was plastic," Tetovo deputy fire chief Saso Trajcevski told local television. The cause of the fire has yet to be established.
North Macedonia has been battling a surge in COVID-19 cases recently. There have been 701 new infections and 24 deaths in the past 24 hours. The government has had to impose stricter measures as a result. Investigators have gone to the scene to determine the cause of Wednesday’s fire.
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