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Two dead in fire in S.Africa Covid ward

Two patients died on Tuesday after a fire broke out in the coronavirus ward of a hospital in northern South Africa, the local health department said.

The incident occurred at a hospital in Modimolle, 170 kilometres (106 miles) north of Johannesburg in rural Limpopo province.

“A team of fire experts… have been dispatched to F.H. Odendaal hospital in Modimolle where two patients died after a fire broke out at the hospital’s COVID-19 ward,” the Limpopo health department said in a statement.

“Nurses at the hospital managed to extinguish the fire and rescue the patients inside the ward, unfortunately the two had already demised,” it added.

Structural damage was avoided and the cause of the blaze is being investigated.

Unconfirmed reports suggested it was started by a patient smoking in a cubicle.

On April 16, a major fire broke out at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg — one of the city’s coronavirus treatment hubs.

Nearly 700 patients were evacuated after the blaze, which caused extensive damage to one of South Africa’s biggest public hospitals.

No injuries or casualties were reported.