Russia's health-care regulator, Roszdravnadzor, has started checking ventilation devices widely used for treating serious coronavirus cases in the country following two deadly fires allegedly caused by malfunctions in such equipment.
"Roszdravnadzor is checking the quality and safety of the ventilation units installed in the hospitals where the fires took place," the regulator said in a May 12 statement that came just hours after a fire in the country's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, killed five COVID-19 patients.
St. Petersburg authorities said the deadly fire was most likely caused by a malfunction in a ventilator device that was operating on the sixth floor of the St. George Hospital early in the morning of May 12.
Three days earlier, a female patient was kiilled in a fire in a hospital in Moscow that is also suspected of being sparked by a similar device.
Russian news agencies quoted sources close to law enforcement as saying that devices in both fires were made at the same industrial facility -- the Urals Instrument-Engineering Plant in the city of Yekaterinburg.
The news site Znak.com reported that the company, also known as Rostec, recently increased its output tenfold after receiving a state order for 5,700 ventilator units.
The number of new cases of the coronavirus in Russia rose by 10,899 in the previous 24 hours, officials said on May 12, bringing the total of officially registered cases to 232,243, including 2,116 deaths.
Russian Health-Care Regulator Checking Ventilators Linked To Deadly Fires