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SALT, Jordan: Anger is rising in Jordan following the deaths of at least seven COVID-19 patients at a newly opened hospital in the city of Salt.
In statements to Jordanian TV, Health Minister Nazir Obeidat said oxygen was cut off for nearly an hour at the hospital, and an investigation is underway. “It could be that the deaths were the result of oxygen failure,” he added.
Obeidat said he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh out of moral responsibility.
Jordan's health minister quits after six Covid patients die due to oxygen shortage https://t.co/RLRzwEZyAy— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 13, 2021
But government spokesman Sakher Dudin told local TV channel Roya that Obeidat’s resignation came following royal directives to the prime minister.
The government has ordered that an investigation into the incident be carried out by the judiciary. King Abdullah visited the hospital on Saturday.
Relatives of the dead said the hospital has been suffering from a “severe” shortage of oxygen and medical cadres.
They called for the entire government, not only Obeidat, to be held accountable for this “crime.”
Mohammad Klub, one of the relatives, told Arab News that the government should resign immediately.
“How come such a thing happened in a hospital? A humble housewife always checks the gas cylinder at her house and makes sure it’s full,” he said.
Jordan health minister steps down over hospital oxygen failure deaths https://t.co/9H8DqBGLL4— The Guardian (@guardian) March 13, 2021
Criticism of the government has been mounting over its handling of the coronavirus crisis, especially with Jordan recently registering a record number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, coupled with a slow vaccine rollout.
The country recorded 7,700 COVID-19 cases and 55 deaths on Friday. It has received 140,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab through the World Health Organization’s COVAX vaccine-sharing program.
Jordan's health minister resigns after 7 die in Covid ward due to lack of oxygen supplies. Other updates:— TRT World (@trtworld) March 13, 2021
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For more: https://t.co/YmAaVrWrGR pic.twitter.com/3eF9BVYGEi
The government recently toughened measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, re-imposing a Friday curfew and extending lockdown hours.
This article has been adapted from its original source.