Five detained over COVID hospital deaths in Jordan

AMMAN (AFP) – The director and four other officials of a Jordanian hospital treating coronavirus patients were detained yesterday over deaths at the facility after it ran out of oxygen, judicial sources said.

A prosecutor decided to place them in custody for a week for questioning after seven patients died on Saturday in the hospital in Salt, near Amman, they said.

Public anger over the deaths led to the resignation of health minister Nazir Obeidat, and King Abdullah II, who visited the state hospital on Saturday, ordered its director Abdel Razak al-Khashman to also step down.

The head of health services for the province where Salt is located has likewise been suspended pending the completion of an investigation.

In video footage posted online, a visibly angry Abdullah, shaking his head, is heard telling the hospital director, “How could such a thing happen. This is unacceptable.”

Hundreds of people rallied outside during the visit to vent their disgust.

The two houses of Jordan’s parliament were to hold emergency sessions on the Salt hospital deaths.

They came as the daily virus caseload in Jordan has surged in recent weeks, prompting authorities to re-impose curbs, including an all-day curfew on Fridays, the day of rest.

Soldiers stand guard outside Al-Hussein Al Salt Hospital in Salt, Jordan. PHOTO: AP