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Coronavirus: Russia bans model of ventilators sent to US following fires in two hospitals

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Russian authorities have banned a specific model of ventilators from use in their hospitals following two deadly fires, according to reports.

Aventa-M branded machines are said to have been preliminarily linked to the blazes, according to a report by CBS News. The fires caused the death of six patients,

Moscow reportedly sent a number of the same model ventilators to the US as part of an equipment relief package in early April, which are said to have not been used.

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The first fire broke out in the Spasokukotsky Hospital on Saturday in Moscow causing the death of one Covid-19 patient while a second fire occurred on Tuesday at St George’s Hospital in St Petersburg killing five other patients on ventilators.

Russia’s health watchdog, Rossdravnadzor, has reportedly ordered a ban on using any of Aventa-M produced since 1 April, according to CBS News.

The machines were said to have been sent to New York and New Jersey but were never used, according to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The ventilators “have not been deployed to hospitals,” FEMA spokeswoman Janet Montesi said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the states are returning the ventilators to FEMA,” she said.

While the fires are informally thought to have been linked to the ventilators the incidents still remain under investigation.

Officials have also said the cause of the patients’ deaths at St George’s Hospital is yet to be officially verified, according to the report.

Russian health officials had announced on Tuesday an investigation into the safety of ventilators at the two hospitals.

The country’s healthcare system is struggling to cope with the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to its hospitals. As of Tuesday, Russia was reported to have exceeded 232,000 confirmed infections.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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