At least 10 people have been reported dead after a hotel, utilized as a quarantine facility for coronavirus, collapsed in China.
The failure occurred on Saturday, March 7, 2020, in the city of Quanzhou, located in southeastern China. The 7-story structure was constructed 7 years ago but it was transformed into a hotel facility in 2018. It was one of the two quarantine centers established in the region.
Locals reported hearing a loud noise, similar to that of an explosion, before realizing that the hotel gave way. “After hearing the loud bang, I ran out of the store and could only see dust on the street. When the dust settled, I found the building had collapsed,” an employee at an adjacent store stated.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management, more than 70 people were inside the Xinjia Express Hotel when it collapsed. Rescue teams, including 1000 firefighters and police officials, rushed at the scene and managed to pull out of the rubble 48 victims. Unfortunately, 10 of them had succumbed to their injuries.
Operations are still underway and, as of 11:30 a.m. (local time) Sunday, it is believed that 23 more people are still trapped. "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," Guo Yutuan, leader of Quanzhou armed police detachment's mobile unit, stated.
The causes of the failure have not been clarified yet. Two stores on the first floor of the building had undergone renovations in January. It is not clear whether the renovation works were associated with the structural failure. According to Zhang Yi, director of the housing and urban-rural development bureau in the district, a pillar sustained extensive deformation minutes before the collapse.
People on social media are protesting against the disaster and insist on taking measures to prevent similar incidents. “The Quanzhou government must be scrutinized! This is not a natural disaster. This is a man-made disaster!”, a quote mentioned. The owner of the hotel has been arrested by the police.
The ministry has ordered a safety inspection in all housing facilities throughout China and especially in coronavirus quarantine centers.
47 coronavirus victims have been reported in the city of Quanzhou which is around 1,000 kilometers away from Wuhan city where the spread of the virus initiated.