Deadly fire at COVID-19 hospital ward in India

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A family member performs the last rites of a COVID-19 victim at a crematorium in Jammu, in Jammu, India, Friday, April 30, 2021. Indian scientists appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to publicly release virus data that would allow them to save lives as coronavirus cases climbed again Friday, prompting the army to open its hospitals in a desperate bid to control a massive humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

NEW DELHI (Associated Press) — A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India has killed 18 patients, as the country grapples with an unprecedented surge that has filled hospitals and crematoriums.

Police said 31 other patients were rescued by medical staff and firefighters early Saturday at the Welfare Hospital in Bharuch, a town in Gujarat state.

India is stepping up its vaccination drive, saying all adults over 18 can get their shots. However, some states say they still don’t have enough jabs.

India set yet another daily global record with 401,993 new cases, taking its tally to more than 19.1 million. Another 3,523 people died in the past 24 hours, raising overall fatalities to 211,853.

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