Chinese Hotel Used to Observe Virus Contacts Collapses

BEIJING (AP) -
Rescue workers at the site where a hotel being used for the novel coronavirus quarantine collapsed in the southeast Chinese port city of Quanzhou, Fujian province, China March 7, 2020. (cnsphoto via REUTERS)

Dozens of people remained trapped Sunday in a collapsed hotel in southeastern China that was being used for medical observation of people who had contact with coronavirus patients.

Rescuers work at the site of a collapsed five-story hotel building in Quanzhou city in southeast China’s Fujian province Saturday, March 7, 2020. (Chinatopix Via AP)

Forty-three people had been pulled from the rubble of the Xinjia Express Hotel in Quanzhou, a city in Fujian province as of Sunday morning, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing local officials. There were no reports of deaths.

The hotel collapsed in a matter of seconds at about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted eyewitnesses as saying.

Photos on news websites showed rescue workers with flashlights climbing over the debris. Rubble was piled on cars in front of the building.

The official People’s Daily newspaper said the 80-room hotel was being used by by the city government for observation of people who had contact with virus patients.

The hotel opened in June 2018, with rooms on the fourth to seventh floors of the building, the newspaper Beijing Youth Daily said.

An unidentified hotel employee cited by the Beijing Youth Daily said the owner carried out “foundation-related construction” before the disaster. It gave no details.

China, where the virus first emerged in December, has confirmed more than 80,000 cases, by far the most in the world.

It reported 44 new cases over the last 24 hours on Sunday morning, the lowest level since it began publishing nationwide figures on Jan 20. Another 27 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 3,097.

Most of the cases have been in the city of Wuhan.