‘Entire ICU ward of Covid-19 patients die’ after hospital ‘runs out of oxygen’

An entire intensive care unit full of Covid-19 patients has reportedly died in an Egyptian hospital after the ward's oxygen supply failed.

Harrowing footage of shell-shocked nurses at the El Husseineya Central Hospital in Ash Sharqia province has gone viral online, bringing light to the catastrophe even as authorities try to downplay what happened.

Video clips uploaded to social media show hospital staff desperately trying to perform CPR on dying patients while the sounds of screaming and crying can be heard echoing through the ward.

According to reports, up to seven patients died after the ICU's oxygen levels almost dipped below two percent, meaning there was neither sufficient pressure nor air for them to survive.

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It's the second such disaster to strike a hospital in Egypt after dangerously ill patients in the ICU at Zefta General Hospital suffered the same fate.

Government negligence and corruption are being blamed for the disaster, although officials are denying the allegations.

Egypt's Heath Minister Hala Zayed claimed the unfortunate patients did not die due to lack of oxygen, and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of spreading rumours.

Hospital director Dr Muhammad Sami Al-Najjar has told local media the situation at the facility is "normal" and denied a lack of oxygen.

He claimed the ICU patients had died from natural causes, old age or other chronic diseases.

The Governor of Ash Sharqia, Dr Mamdouh Gorab, said only four patients had died rather than the entire ward.

Critics have speculated that life-saving oxygen supplies only reached the hospital after several patients had already died.

Distressing footage of panic on the ward was uploaded to social media by a man whose 66-year-old aunt Fatima Al-Sayed Mohamed Ibrahim was among the patients being treated there.

One image of a devastated nurse in full scrubs and PPE sitting on the floor in shock proved particularly shocking.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the man who recorded the footage has since been arrested.

Reports also stated that the upset nurse received a fine for "not working during hard times."

Governor Gorab has reportedly also sought punishment for the hospital security guards who allowed visitors to film inside the ward.

Egypt has recorded a total of 145,000 Covid-19 cases over the course of the pandemic and almost 8,000 people have died.

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