At least 35 people have died in a fire at the al-Hussein Hospital in Iraq’s Nasiriyah district where coronavirus patients are being treated.
The fire reportedly broke out in an isolation ward for people infected with coronavirus at the Imam al-Hussein Hospital in Dhi Qar province.
Earlier on Monday, a minor fire broke out at the health ministry's headquarters in Baghdad, but it was quickly contained with no fatalities recorded.
The blaze at the hospital is the second such tragedy this year.
The Iraqi News Agency said the authorities had evacuated the patients from the hospital. The agency quoted a statement of the Ministry of Interior that “civil defense teams are fighting a fire incident in the center of Dhi Qar Governorate, inside the al-Hussein Teaching Hospital.
"Health crews carried charred bodies out of the burning hospital while many patients were coughing from the rising smoke,” a Reuters reporter on the fire site said.
INA cited health ministry officials as saying that search operations in Al-Hussain Coronavirus hospital continued after
the fire was brought under control.
Health sources said the death toll could rise as many patients are still missing.
(With inputs from agencies)