Jordan’s Health Minister, Nathir Obeidat has resigned amid growing anger after several COVID-19 patients died at a hospital when their oxygen supply ran out.
State media yesterday reported at least seven deaths at the government hospital in the town of al-Salt, some 20 kilometres (13 miles) north of the capital, Amman.
Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh ordered an investigation, while King Abdullah II arrived at the hospital to help calm angry families who had gathered outside.
Denouncing the incident, the king also ordered the hospital’s director suspended, according to al-Mamlaka TV.
In video footage that circulated online, the king is heard saying to the hospital director: “How could such a thing happen. This is unacceptable.”
Al Jazeera’s Hassan Shoubaki, reporting from al-Salt, said the king was accompanied by the crown prince during his visit to the hospital, where the pair “listened to what happened”.
“King Abdullah was angry and he said things cannot be dealt with this way,” Shoubaki said.
About 150 relatives of the patients had gathered outside the facility, which was surrounded by a large deployment of police and security officers, who prevented the families from entering.
According to Shoubaki, the number of people gathering outside of the facility is increasing.
During a news conference, Health Minister Nathir Obeidat said he “bears all moral responsibility for the incident that took place at the al-Salt hospital”, adding that the issue has now been resolved and that patients at the hospital are receiving oxygen.
Medical sources told Al Jazeera the oxygen cut started from 6am and lasted until 8am, which prompted the hospital administration to seek help from ambulances and civil defence teams.
The oxygen failure hit the intensive care, maternity and coronavirus wards in the hospital. Witnesses said when the oxygen ran out, they were forced to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on their own family members to try and keep them alive.