Jordan’s health minister resigned on Saturday after six people died due to a shortage of oxygen supplies in a hospital treating coronavirus patients and police were deployed to hold back angry relatives, state media said. The oxygen failure earlier on Saturday hit intensive care, maternity, and coronavirus wards in the new Salt government hospital west of the capital Amman.
The Jordanian prime minister, Bisher al-Khasawneh, ordered an investigation into the deaths early on Saturday morning at a government hospital in the town of Salt, 13 miles (20km) north of the capital, Amman.
He asked the health minister, Nathir Obeidat, to resign, according to the reports. Al-Ra’i, a pro-government newspaper, confirmed that Obeidat had resigned.
Obeidat said initial investigations showed the six deaths were caused by a one hour disruption in oxygen to the wards and that prosecutors were handling the case.
Jordan’s King Abdullah also later visited the hospital.
Jordan is facing a spike in COVID-19 infections attributed mainly to the fast transmission of the British variant of the virus. It announced last week stricter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and reimposed a full lockdown on Fridays.
The country reported 8,300 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic first surfaced in the kingdom a year ago.
Jordan, with a population of around 10 million, has recorded 385,533 cases of COVID-19 and 5,224 deaths is grappling with surging coronavirus infections and deaths and struggling to secure vaccines.