BEIJING: At least four people were killed following the collapse of a hotel used as a COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China, the Ministry of Emergency Management said Sunday (Mar 8).
Rescuers have also retrieved 38 survivors from the rubble, with five in critical or serious condition, out of 71 initially trapped, the ministry said. State media had earlier reported that 48 people had been rescued out of 67 initially trapped when the building crumbled.
Footage circulating on microblogging platform Weibo showed rescue workers combing through the rubble of the 80-room Xinjia hotel in coastal Quanzhou city in the dark as they reassured a woman trapped under heavy debris and carried wounded victims into ambulances.
Other footage published by local media, purportedly from security cameras across the street, showed the entire hotel collapsing in seconds.
The hotel’s facade appeared to have crumbled into the ground, exposing the building’s steel frame, and a crowd gathered as the evening wore on.
China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said some 200 local and 800 Fujian Province firefighters had been deployed to the scene along with 11 search and rescue teams and seven rescue dogs, according to Xinhua.
Quanzhou authorities said ambulances, excavators and cranes had also been rushed to the site. Representatives from Beijing are also en route to Quanzhou to assist in relief efforts, Xinhua reported.
Quanzhou has recorded 47 cases of the COVID-19 infection and the hotel, which opened just two years ago, was recently repurposed to house people who had been in recent contact with confirmed patients, the People’s Daily state newspaper reported.