China hotel used for coronavirus quarantine collapses, trapping dozens

Thirty people remained trapped Sunday morning after the collapse of a five-story hotel used for the quarantine of forcoronavirus in the city of Quanzhou, in southeast China.

About four hours after the collapse, Quanzhou Municipality said that 38 of the 70 people who were at the Quanzhou Xinjia Hotel had been saved.

A video stream published by the government-supported Beijing press site showed rescuers in orange overalls climbing on brushwood and twisted metallic structures carrying people to ambulances.

The hotel collapsed around 7:30 p.m. (11:30 GMT) on Saturday evening.

“I was at a gas station and heard a loud noise. I looked up and the whole building collapsed. Dust was everywhere and shards of glass were flying around,” said a witness. in a video posted on the Miaopai streaming app.

“I was so terrified that my hands and legs were shaking.”

A woman named only by her last name, Chen, told the BeijingNews website that parents, including her sister, were under surveillance at the hotel according to local regulations after they returned from Hubei Province, where the coronavirus has emerged.

She said they had to leave shortly after completing their 14 days of isolation.

“I cannot contact them, they do not answer their phones,” she said.

“I am also in quarantine (in another hotel) and I am very worried, I do not know what to do. They were in good health, they took their temperatures every day, and the tests showed that everything was normal. “

The municipality said 36 emergency rescue vehicles such as cranes and shovels, 67 firefighting vehicles, 15 ambulances and more than 700 firefighters, doctors and other rescuers were on the scene while the operation was underway. extended into the night.

Quanzhou is a port city in the Taiwan Strait in Fujian province with a population of over 8 million.

The official daily of the People declared that the hotel opened its doors in June 2018 with 80 rooms.

The Beijing News video feed was viewed by more than 2 million Weibo users on Saturday evening, and the collapse of the hotel was the hottest topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent.

Some users have requested an investigation into how the hotel could have collapsed.

Anger has grown against Chinese authorities over the early management of the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed more than 3,300 people worldwide, most of them in China.

The Fujian provincial government said that on Friday, the province had 296 cases of coronavirus and 10,819 people had been placed under observation after being classified as suspects of close contact.

The official Xinhua news agency said that the workplace safety committee under the business council, the Chinese cabinet, had sent an emergency work team to the site.