At least ten people have been killed as fire broke out at a makeshift Covid hospital in North Macedonia.
The fire broke out on Wednesday evening in Tetovo in the northwest of the Balkan country, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who immediately headed to the town.
Footage shared on social media showed a building in flames and a thick cloud of black smoke billowing into the air near a main road in the city of Tetovo.
Firefighters put out the blaze in less than an hour. Ten people were dead.
Local authorities have opened an investigation into the incident, saying that there may be more victims,.
“This is a very sad day,” Health Minister Venko Filipce wrote on Twitter. He pointed out that health workers “urgently transported” several patients to a hospital in the capital Skopje.
“Doctors are fighting for the lives of the injured,” Mr Filipce said. He described the fire as a “terrible accident”. But, he provided no further details.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has immediately headed to the town.
“A huge tragedy has occurred in the Tetovo COVID-19 centre,” Zaev said on Twitter. “An explosion caused a fire. The fire was extinguished but many lives were lost.”
“At the moment, ten people are confirmed to have died, but that number could rise,” Health Minister Venko Filipche said on Twitter.
He expressed his “profound condolences” to the victims’ families.
The modular COVID-19 unit was built last year at the hospital to look after coronavirus patients in the town of about 50,000 people.