Fire breaks out in Turkey COVID ward

At least nine people were killed in a hospital fire in southeast Turkey on Saturday (December 19).

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the blaze broke out in a private hospital's COVID-19 intensive care unit in the province of Gaziantep.

The local governorship said in a statement that the fire was caused by the explosion of an oxygen ventilator.

The mechanical breathing devices are used to blow air into the lungs and have been crucial for severe cases of COVID-19.

The prosecutor's office said two officials in the province have been commissioned to investigate the fire.

Other patients receiving treatment were transferred to nearby hospitals.