The director and four officials of the Al-Salt public hospital, near the Jordanian capital, Amman, were taken into custody on Saturday March 13 due to the death of seven Covid-19 patients in intensive care at the following an oxygen supply failure at the facility, a judicial source said. For the purposes of the investigation and to determine the responsibilities, the Salt prosecutor decided to arrest them for a week.
These deaths have sparked great emotion in the country and the wrath of the king, Abdullah II, as the country faces a resurgence of the epidemic due to the new coronavirus. The king went to the hospital on Saturday, and, according to images broadcast on television, he asked the director, Abdel Razak Al-Khachman, to resign after expressing his dissatisfaction.
According to the Minister of Health, Nazir Obeidat, who has since left office, an oxygen supply failure occurred for nearly an hour at the hospital and “Presumably resulted in death” of the patients, four men and three women over 40 years old.
An extraordinary meeting of the two chambers of parliament is due to take place on Sunday, according to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Abdelmoneim Saleh. “In these difficult times, institutions cannot tolerate any negligence or error, especially in the treatment provided in hospitals”, he said.
Protest in front of the hospital
Hundreds of people, including the families of the victims, demonstrated on Saturday in front of Al-Salt hospital, where 150 patients with Covid-19 are being treated. Security forces were deployed to frame the protest.
Jordan, which launched its vaccination campaign in January, has recorded more than 464,000 cases of coronavirus infection and more than 5,200 deaths per 10 million inhabitants. Due to the resurgence of the epidemic, the country announced during the week the extension of the curfew in force since February 24 as well as the closure of public gardens, schools and universities, sports clubs and hammams.