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7 dead, dozens trapped in China quarantine hotel collapse

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: - Fujian Fire Dept.

China’s state media are reporting that seven people died when a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine centre collapsed last night in southeastern China’s Fujian province. The Ministry of Emergency Management says 80 people were in the building when it came down; nine escaped, while about 70 people were trapped. Of those, 43 have been pulled from the rubble and 28 currently remain unaccounted for.

The Fujian Fire Department deployed more than 1000 firefighters and other emergency responders, who worked through the night searching for survivors.
“We are using life detection instruments to monitor signs of life and professional breaking-in tools to make forcible entries. We are trying our utmost to save trapped people.”

A video streamed by the government-backed Beijing News site showed rescue workers in orange overalls sifting through the rubble of the Quanzhou Xinjia Hotel and carrying people to ambulances.

7 dead, dozens trapped in China quarantine hotel collapse | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Rescue workers on the site where a hotel being used for coronavirus quarantine collapsed in the Chinese port city of Quanzhou last night. – cnsphoto via Reuters

The hotel collapsed at about 7:30pm and 34 people were rescued in the ensuing two hours, according to the Quanzhou municipality’s website.

“I was at a gas station and heard a loud noise. I looked up and the whole building collapsed. Dust was everywhere, and glass fragments were flying around. I was so terrified that my hands and legs were shivering.”

A woman named only by her surname, Chen, told Beijing News that relatives, including her sister had been under quarantine at the hotel after returning from Hubei province, where the virus emerged. She said they were scheduled to leave soon after completing their 14 days of isolation.

At the time of the collapse, 58 people were under quarantine in the hotel. All had tested negative for the coronavirus. There were 16 staff and six car dealership employees also on site.
The building’s owner is in police custody, according to state China’s state news agency Xinhua.

The hotel was a seven-story steel structure, built in 2013 and converted to a hotel in 2018, according to Xinhua. The owner began renovating the first floor in January.

 

SOURCES: CNN | Al Jazeera | Thai PBS World

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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