At least 41 people have been killed in a hospital fire in the southeastern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, with another five critically injured .
Spokesman for the local health department, Dr Ammar al-Zamili, disclosed that the fire was started after oxygen tanks exploded in an Intensive Care Unit treating COVID-19 patients on Monday night.
"The civil defence teams managed to control and put out the major fire that broke out at al-Hussein hospital in the city with the help of health workers and neighbourhood volunteers," al-Zamili told CNN.
Health officials could not say how many people were inside the building when the fire broke out but said an evacuation operation is underway.
Al-Hussein Hospital was set up to treat COVID-19 patients at the start of the pandemic and has quarantine stations on site.
In April, at least 82 people were killed in a huge fire at a Covid-19 hospital in Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi is set to hold an emergency meeting with ministers and security commanders 'to find out the causes and repercussions of the deadly fire, the PM's office said Tuesday morning, July 13.
See photos from the fire: