Hospital fire kills 18 virus patients as India steps up jabs

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NEW DELHI (AP) — A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India has killed 18 patients as the country grappling with the worst outbreak yet steps up a vaccination drive for all its adults even though some states say don’t have enough jabs.

Police say 31 other patients at the Welfare Hospital in Bharuch, a town in Gujarat state, were rescued by hospital workers and firefighters early Saturday.

India set yet another daily global record with 401,993 new cases, taking its tally to more than 19.1 million.

Faced with an unprecedented surge that has filled hospitals and crematoriums, the government shifted its faltering vaccination campaign into high gear by saying all adults 18 and over were getting their shots.

But some states say jabs are lacking.

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