A fire in a hospital treating people infected with the coronavirus in Saint Petersburg, killed five patients, Russia's Emergency Ministry said on Tuesday.

The fire broke out in an intensive care unit of the hospital and it was caused by a ventilator malfunction, according to preliminary data, it said in a statement.

About 150 people were evacuated from the building following the incident, and the fire was contained on an area of 10 square meters (107.6 square miles).

The Investigative Committee of Russia launched a criminal case following the incident.