Six dead following oxygen outage at hospital in Jordan

Gendarmerie officers stand guard at the gate of the new Salt government hospital in the city of Salt, Jordan.

Jordan’s health minister resigned on Saturday after six people died following an oxygen outage in a hospital treating coronavirus patients and police were deployed to hold back angry relatives, state media said.

The oxygen failure earlier on Saturday hit intensive care, maternity, and coronavirus wards in the new Salt government hospital west of the capital Amman.

A government spokesman said Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh asked Health Minister Nathir Obeidat to resign over the accident for which Obeidat had earlier said he carried “moral responsibility”.

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Obeidat said initial investigations showed the six deaths were caused by a one hour disruption in oxygen to the wards and that prosecutors were handling the case.

Jordan’s King Abdullah also later visited the hospital.

Jordan is facing a spike in COVID-19 infections attributed mainly to the fast transmission of the British variant of the virus. It announced last week stricter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and reimposed a full lockdown on Fridays.

The country reported 8,300 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic first surfaced in the kingdom a year ago.

Jordan, with a population of around 10 million, has recorded 385,533 cases of COVID-19 and 5,224 deaths.

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