Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has asked for forgiveness from the families of those who died in a fire that broke out shortly after midnight at a coronavirus hospital in Mumbai, and has promised them compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Bangladesh for two days, said he was “pained by the loss of lives” and promised to pray for the wounded.
Officials say ten bodies have been recovered so far, and about 70 patients who were being treated for the virus at the Dreams Mall Sunrise Hospital, which was on the fourth floor of a shopping mall in Mumbai’s Bhandup neighbourhood, have been transferred to safety.
“The firefighters did a great job in rescuing people. However… some who were on ventilators could not be rescued. I seek forgiveness from their families,” Mr Thackeray told reporters Friday after visiting the scene of the disaster.
“Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Mumbai. I pray that the injured recover soon,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a hospital in Mumbai. I pray that the injured recover soon: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 26, 2021
The hospital, according to the Chief Minister, was designed to cope with the city’s recent epidemic of Covid infections; at the height of the first wave last year, Mumbai was the country’s worst-affected metropolis, with hospital beds and life-saving medical equipment in short supply.
“I want to assure you that whoever is at fault… they will be punished,” Mr Thackeray said, adding that early reports indicated the fire started in a mall shop rather than the hospital itself.
“We have been fighting against the coronavirus for the past year. When the pandemic hit the state, there were very few beds and ventilators, but we continued our fight and set up temporary hospitals. This hospital was temporarily allowed to treat coronavirus patients,” he explained.
According to the Chief Minister, the hospital’s permission would have expired on March 31.