70 people trapped as China quarantine hotel collapses

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A hotel being used as a coronavirus quarantine centre in South Eastern China has collapsed, leaving 70 people trapped, according to local media.

The five-storey building in Fujian province was being used to house and observe people who had come into contact with Covid-19 patients when it collapsed at around 7:30pm local time.

At least 34 people have so far been rescued from the wreckage of the Xinjia Express Hotel in Quanzhou, according to local officials.

It happened in the city of Quanzhou, in southeastern Fujian Province, according to reports.

Videos posted on social media show emergency workers combing through the building’s wreckage, the BBC reported.

“It was not until I ran to my balcony that I saw that the entire hotel building had collapsed.”

The hotel is one of two buildings being used as a quarantine centre in the city’s Licheng district, after opening as a hotel in June 2018, according to SCMP.

Local government officials confirmed the hotel had been turned into a coronavirus quarantine center and was one of two in the district, Beijing News reported.

One woman told Beijing News that her sister and other relatives had been quarantined at the hotel after returning from Hubei province, the outbreak’s epicentre.

She said they had arrived on 25 February and had been scheduled to leave soon after completing their two weeks of quarantine.

“I can’t contact them, they’re not answering their phones,” she said. “I’m under quarantine too [at another hotel] and I’m very worried, I don’t know what to do. They were healthy, they took their temperatures every day, and the tests showed that everything was normal.”

Nearly 150 firefighters are thought to be engaged in the rescue operation. Footage shared to social media shows emergency service workers clambering among the rubble and using powerful torches to search for survivors.

Another newspaper reported the hotel’s room housed people under quarantine after coming in close contact with coronavirus patients. A man living across the road from the collapsed hotel said he thought the collapse was an explosion.

“I was just having dinner and I suddenly heard a loud bang and thought it was an explosion. It was not until I ran to my balcony that I saw that the entire hotel building had collapsed,” he was quoted as saying.

Edited by staff

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