Russia on Wednesday suspended the use of certain medical ventilators after the machines were believed to have been involved in two fatal hospital fires over the weekend.
On Saturday, one person died in a fire at a hospital in Moscow, and five were killed in a fire at Saint George’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Reuters reported. In both cases, Russian media reported that the sources of the fires were faulty Aventa-M ventilators.
Russia last month delivered hundreds of the same ventilators as part of a U.S. purchase to help American hospitals with the rise in coronavirus patients. Officials in Washington have since said they have not needed the additional medical equipment.
The suspension of the ventilators comes amid a spike in new COVID-19 cases in Russia.
The number of confirmed cases in Russia, with a population of 144.5 million, has jumped the highest in Europe at 242,271, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The country has reported 2,121 deaths and 48,003 recoveries.
Officials have attributed the rising number of cases and low number of deaths to an expansive testing program, which has reportedly conducted 5.6 million tests. But some experts have cautioned that the true figures are much higher than what has been reported.
Moscow, which has emerged as the epicenter of the outbreak in Russia, has reported more than half of all cases and deaths in the country. The city has implemented strict lockdown precautions that will continue until at least May 31 in an effort to limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.