Five COVID-19 patients killed in India hospital fire

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Five patients have died in India's Rajkot city in Gujarat after a fire broke out in a COVID-19 ward.

The early morning blaze gutted the intensive care unit (ICU) of the private hospital, television footage showed.

The most likely cause was an electrical short circuit, said government official Udit Agarwal.

It was the fourth blaze in the hospital since the outbreak began.

India's top court has asked both the federal and state governments to submit a detailed reply on recurring fires in COVID-19 hospitals.

In August, eight COVID-19 patients were killed in a fire in the ICU ward of a hospital in Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hails from the state, said on Twitter that he was pained by the loss of lives on Friday.

India has recorded 9.3 million infections, the second-highest in the world after the United States, and more 135,000 deaths. On Friday, the health ministry said it reported 43,082 new cases and 492 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Modi will visit three companies working on coronavirus vaccines, including one in Gujarat, on Saturday, his office said in a post on Twitter.

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