A fire broke out in a Baghdad hospital dedicated to caring for coronavirus patients after oxygen cylinders reportedly exploded late Saturday, according to local reports.
Firefighters rushed to put out the flames and clear out patients at the Ibn al-Khatib hospital, which is known to care for coronavirus patients.
Initial reports show at least five dead and over 20 wounded, according to medical and security officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. Iraqi authorities have not released to an official casualty count.
The fire is believed to have been caused when at least one oxygen cylinder exploded inside the hospital, local media reported.
Iraq is in the midst of a severe COVID-19 wave. Daily coronavirus rates now average above 8,000 new cases, the highest since the pandemic broke out in the country last year. The government is urging the public to get vaccinated, but demand has been low due to widespread mistrust of the health care system and the vaccines in particular.