At Least 10 Dead In Fire At North Macedonian COVID-19 Clinic

At least 10 people died in a fire at a makeshift coronavirus treatment center in North Macedonia, the country’s health ministry said.

The fire broke out in a modular unit used to treat coronavirus patients in the northwestern city of Tetovo late on September 8 before being put out by firefighters.

“Ten people have been confirmed dead in the blaze so far, but the number could rise. This is a very sad day,” Health Minister Venko Filipce said on Twitter.

Firefighters put out the blaze after a couple of hours while oxygen cylinders used to treat hospitalized coronavirus patients exploded, Tetovo’s deputy fire chief Saso Trajcevski said.

“Everything was on fire and we were removing bodies while the fire was being extinguished,” Trajcevski said.

It was unclear how many patients were in the hospital when the fire broke out around 9 p.m. local time.

An unspecified number of injured were transferred to a hospital in the capital, Skopje.

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in North Macedonia since early August, prompting the government to reimpose restrictions on access to cafes, restaurants, and public events.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Balkan Service