At least seven COVID-19 patients died when a hospital in Jordan ran out of oxygen — with the nation’s health minister quickly fired as protests erupted across the Middle Eastern kingdom.
The state hospital in the town of Salt had no oxygen for at least two hours Saturday morning, and people were seen rushing in with portable devices as people died on the COVID-19 ward.
Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh fired health minister Nathir Obeidat, according to Reuters, although other reports said he resigned.
As angry relatives and protesters gathered outside the hospital, King Abdullah visited to defuse tensions — and ordered hospital director Abdel Razak al-Khashman to step down.
In video footage posted online, Abdullah shook his head as he asked the hospital director, “How could such a thing happen? This is unacceptable,” according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The director is understood to be among at least five staff at the hospital who were detained late Saturday, the wire service said.
“We want to put on trial those responsible for this and then bring down the government,” said Ahmad Hiyari, one of hundreds of demonstrators near the hospital about 13 miles north of the capital Amman.
The outrage soon sparked other protests across many of Jordan’s cities and provincial towns, fueling anger over lockdowns and curfews which has reported over 486,470 cases and more than 5,428 deaths.
“Down with the government. We don’t fear coronavirus,” hundreds of youths chanted in Irbid, one of the numerous protests across the kingdom that is home to 10 million people.
With Post wires