At least five COVID-19 patients were dead after fire broke out in a hospital in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Wednesday, according to a fire service official .

Zillur Rahman, a fire service director said that it is still unclear the cause of the fire.

It took firefighters for about an hour to extinguish the flames, Rahman further added.

Five bodies have been recovered from the makeshift isolation unit of the United Hospital treating COVID-19 patients, Rahman said.

The dead included four men and a woman aged between 45 and 75, he said.

Bangladesh has reported 38,292 cases and 544 deaths in recent weeks.

According to health experts, the real number of cases could be higher in a country of more than 160 million people where many have only limited access to healthcare.

Lax regulations and poor enforcement have often been blamed for large fires in the South Asian nation that have killed hundreds of people in recent years.

In March 2019, at least 25 people were killed when a fire broke out in a 22-storey commercial building in Dhaka’s upscale area of Banani.

Last year, in February, an inferno in a centuries-old neighbourhood of Dhaka left 71 people dead and injured dozens.

In 2017, a fire broke out in Bangladesh’s Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in the capital, no casualties were reported.

In the last ten years, though there has been little progress made in addressing the issues that led to the Nimtoli fire, or many smaller subsequent fires that took place, according to reports.