Police and firefighters inspect the scene at the Covid-19 clinic after a fire broke out.

An explosion sparked by a fire at a Covid-19 hospital has killed 14 people in North Macedonia, a government spokesman told CNN on Thursday.

Local media showed images of a huge blaze at the hospital in the town of Tetovo as firefighters raced to the scene on Wednesday. The fire was extinguished after a few hours.

A total of 26 patients were inside the center at the time of the incident. Twelve of those patients are now in hospital and out of critical care, the health ministry said in a statement sent to CNN.

The government called the accident a “huge tragedy” and expressed its deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the deceased and wished a speedy recovery to the injured, in a statement issued Wednesday late evening.

The government has scheduled an emergency and extraordinary session on Thursday related to the tragedy.

The country of 2 million reported 701 new coronavirus infections and 24 deaths in the past 24 hours.

The town of Tetovo, mainly inhabited by ethnic Albanians, has one of the country’s highest number of coronavirus cases.