Dubai: Jordan’s health minister resigned on Saturday after six people died following an oxygen outage in a hospital treating COVID-19 patients, state media reported.
It was also reported that police were deployed to hold back angry relatives.
A government spokesman said Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh asked Health Minister Nathir Obeidat to resign over the accident for which Obeidat said he carried “moral responsibility”.
“Between 6 and 7 this morning, oxygen ran out for nearly an hour at the hospital (in the northwestern town of Salt) and this probably led to the deaths of six patients,” Health Minister Nazir Obeidat said.
Medical sources said the patients were three men and three women. It was also reported that three of the victims were relatives (two brothers and one sister).
The minister said an investigation was underway to determine what led to the shortage of oxygen in the state-run hospital and if it was the cause of the deaths.
“As minister of health I assume full moral responsibility for what happened and I have submitted my resignation to the prime minister,” Obeidat said.
“So far I have not received a response.”
Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh earlier ordered an immediate investigation into the incident and said that “everyone responsible should be held accountable”.
The deaths come as the daily virus caseload in Jordan has surged in recent weeks, prompting authorities to reimpose restrictions, including an all-day curfew on Fridays, the day of rest and prayer.
Jordan, which began its COVID-19 vaccination drive in January, has recorded more than 460,000 coronavirus cases and over 5,200 deaths since the pandemic started last year.