North Macedonia: Minister resigns following deadly COVID hospital fire | World

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By KONSTANTIN TESTORIDES Associated Press

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) – The Minister of Health of North Macedonia resigned on Friday evening, nearly two days after a fire ravaged a COVID-19 field hospital, killing 12 patients and two relatives in visit.

Venko Filipce made the announcement shortly after the resignation of his deputy minister and two senior hospital administrators.

There was no immediate reaction from Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s office.

The fire broke out on Wednesday evening in the city of Tetovo (west), destroying the facility in a few minutes. Twelve people were also injured. The fire is said to have started by accident, although an investigation is still ongoing. Witnesses and officials said an explosion preceded the blaze.

The prosecution said eight women and six men between the ages of 29 and 78 were killed.

Nineteen field hospitals, funded by a loan from the World Bank, have been set up across North Macedonia over the past year to cope with rising coronavirus hospitalizations and a shortage of beds hospitals. Health officials say the 19 were built to specifications and standards set by the World Bank as a condition of the loan.

North Macedonia said it was accepting an offer from other NATO allies to send fire experts. The government has announced that a team from the German Federal Criminal Police Office will join the investigation.


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