International

Dozens trapped as China quarantine hotel collapses

About 70 people were trapped after a hotel being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in the Chinese city of Quanzhou collapsed.

About 40 of the 70 have been pulled from the rubble of the five-storey Xinjia Hotel, state media says.

Videos posted online show emergency workers combing through the building’s wreckage in the southern province of Fujian.

It is not clear what caused the collapse or if anyone has died.

Rescuers work at the site of a collapsed five-story hotel building in Quanzhou city in southeast China's Fujian province, 07 March 2020.
Image captionRescue workers in orange overalls clamber over the rubble as they look for survivors
A rescuer follows an injured man walking out of the rubbles of a collapsed five-story hotel building in Quanzhou city in southeast China's Fujian province, 7 March 2020
Image captionThe hotel reportedly had 80 guest rooms

It happened at about 19:30 local time (11:30 GMT).

Chinese state media says the hotel was being used as a quarantine facility monitoring people who had had close contact with coronavirus patients.

The hotel reportedly opened in 2018 and had 80 guest rooms.

Twitter post by @globaltimesnews: #Update  The Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a team to the site of Xinjia hotel, which collapsed in E China's Quanzhou on Sat evening, to assist local rescue work. The hotel is a medical observation site for close contacts with #COVID19 patients.

One woman told the Beijing News website that relatives including her sister had been under quarantine there.

“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.”

As of Friday, Fujian province had 296 cases of coronavirus. Meanwhile 10,819 people have been placed under observation because they have been in close contact with someone infected.

The World Health Organization says more than 101,000 people worldwide have now contracted the virus.

More than 3,000 people have died – the majority in the Chinese province of Hubei where the outbreak originated.