Two patients died and a nurse was injured when a fire broke out at Movila Hospital in the central Romanian city of Ploiesti early on Thursday said officials, according to Reuters.
The fire which was quickly extinguished broke out at around 0200 GMT and affected one room. The hospital was treating Covid-19 patients and fifteen patients in the wing were moved to another hospital.
Acting Health Minister Cseke Attila said he was waiting for specialists to determine the cause of the fire, but the local healthcare system was overstretched because of the fourth wave of the pandemic.
Over the past two weeks, Romania has transferred Covid-19 patients to Hungary, Austria, Germany, Poland, and Italy as local hospitals are struggling to cope with the influx of cases.
In October, a fire killed seven people in the intensive care unit of a hospital in the eastern city of Constanta. In February, a fire killed four patients in the capital, Bucharest. Last November, 10 people died in a blaze in an intensive care unit at the Piatra Neamt county hospital.
Officials have begun regularly inspecting oxygen lines and fire permits at hospitals.
Romania has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the European Union and one of the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in the world, with record daily infection numbers throughout October stretching its hospitals.
Even before the pandemic, Romania had one of the EU’s least developed healthcare infrastructures. The state has built one hospital in the last three decades, spends the least on healthcare in the EU and has a shortage of doctors and nurses.