An investigative committee set up to ascertain responsibility for a massive fire at Baghdad’s Ibn Khatib hospital that occurred over the night between April 24 and 25 and left at least 82 people dead and 110 injured announced its conclusions on Tuesday.
The fire was started by the explosion of oxygen tanks in a ward treating COVID-19 patients.
The committee recommended disciplinary actions against several hospital officials and that they be relieved of their positions. It also urged the enforcing of regulations to ensure the safety of patients including restricting the number of people accompanying patients, limiting visitor hours, using only qualified personnel, and the instalment of early warning systems and fire extinguishers.
Several of these regulations had been disregarded, contributing to the high death toll. The committee urged that anyone found to be negligent in complying with these regulations should be dealt with firmly and swiftly.
Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi offered his resignation after the announcement and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi accepted.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet on Tuesday approved a recommendation by the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety to impose a 10-day full curfew from May 12 to 22 after a rise in COVID-19 infections across the country.
The measures are meant to curb the spread of the virus as the vaccination campaign continues across Iraq.
All malls, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, event and wedding halls, swimming pools and gyms will be closed and public and private gatherings will be prohibited.