At least ten people were killed in the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China, authorities said yesterday, with 23 others still feared trapped in the rubble.
Rescuers pulled 48 people from the wreckage, of whom 38 are still alive, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on social media.
The building in the coastal city of Quanzhou had been repurposed to house people who recently had contact with patients confirmed with COVID-19, the state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported.
The first floor had been undergoing renovation since before the Lunar New Year holiday, and construction workers called the hotel’s owner minutes before the collapse to report a deformed pillar, authorities said.
The owner has been summoned by police while investigators work to determine whether the renovation or an original structural issue was at fault, according to the ministry. Fifty-eight people who had recently been in regions hard hit by COVID-19 were being quarantined in the hotel but all had tested negative for the virus, local newspaper Quanzhou Evening News reported yesterday.
The city has recorded 47 cases of the virus. Video posted online by the ministry’s firefighting department showed rescuers helping children don surgical masks before pulling them from the remains of the six-storey Xinjia hotel. Another video released by the ministry showed rescuers squirting water from a bottle into the mouth of a trapped man.
Rescuers were also seen spraying disinfectant on each other as part of “strict decontamination” measures between shifts. Footage published by local media appears to show the hotel collapsing in seconds, with the building’s facade crumbling to the ground, exposing the structure’s steel frame. Besides the 48 people pulled out of the wreckage, nine others escaped on their own, the ministry said.