Jordanian MPs and protesters have demanded the government resign after at least seven coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients died when a hospital ran out of oxygen.

Iran PressMiddle East: The kingdom’s lower house of parliament convened in an emergency oversight session on Sunday in response to the medical tragedy at the Al-Hussein New Salt Hospital in Balqa governorate northwest of Amman.

Lawmakers blamed the government’s mishandling of the pandemic for the deaths.   

Other MPs went further, signing a petition demanding a vote of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh, citing its failure to address citizens’ woes.

In their petition, a copy of which was seen by Arab News, signatories held the government accountable for the catastrophe in Salt hospital and the tragic loss of innocent lives.

Only a few lawmakers signed the petition, but parliamentary sources said that consultations are under way to include more MPs and “accelerate the move.”

The chamber of deputies also formed an investigation committee to probe the deadly oxygen outage at the hospital.

Other MPs were more conservative, saying they are waiting for the conclusion of the investigation into the incident to decide on their next move.

However, a group of deputies vowed support for the government’s measures, with some welcoming the prime minister for taking responsibility for the tragedy.

Meanwhile, the hospital’s director and four other officials were detained on Sunday.

Citizens across the kingdom took to the streets on Saturday night in defiance of a curfew to protest against what they described as “medical and administrative negligence” that resulted in the deaths.

Protesters in Salt, Madaba, and Zarqa chanted slogans demanding the departure of the government.

“What happened is a huge and flagrant mistake, unjustified and unacceptable. We cannot accept the death of a single Jordanian,” Al-Khasawneh said during a press conference on Saturday.

“The government alone assumes full responsibility for what happened.”

Pledging “full moral responsibility” for the medical tragedy, Health Minister Nazir Obeidat said he submitted his resignation to the prime minister immediately after visiting the hospital on Saturday.

However, the government’s spokesperson said the minister’s resignation followed royal directives to Al-Khasawneh who said during the press conference that he accepted Obeidat’s resignation and assigned Interior Minister Mazen Faraya to the post.

Obeidat, who on Saturday said the hospital’s oxygen supply had failed between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m, was summoned by the Salt public prosecutor as per the judiciary’s investigation into the incident.

Amman Attorney General Hassan Abdallat on Saturday said that five officials from the New Salt Hospital were detained for one week at a correctional and rehabilitation center over seven counts of causing death by association.

Abdallat on Sunday said that the head of health services for Balqaa province and the oxygen provider were also summoned for investigation.