A hotel in eastern China that was being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility collapsed March 7, trapping at least 70 people. At least 10 deaths had been confirmed according to media reports on March 8.
Opened in June 2018, the 80-room Xinjia Hotel in the port city of Quanzhou, Fujian Province, had recently begun housing people who had been in contact with confirmed coronavirus patients, according to state media. The building was constructed in 2013 and converted to a hotel in 2018. Renovation work had been underway on the building's first floor since January. Per Xinhua news agency, the owner had been alerted to a distorted pillar in the building about 30 minutes before the collapse
No reason for the collapse has been announced, nor have officials confirmed any deaths resulting from the incident.
Videos from the scene indicate that the glass façade and interior floors had fallen, with the upper portion of the building’s steel frame warped but otherwise erect. Witnesses also reported hearing a loud noise as the collapse began, around 7:30 pm local time.
More than 40 people had been rescued within the first few hours of the rescue effort, which included dozens of firefighters, medical and rescue workers, as well as cranes and excavators, according to media reports.
Quanzhou, with a population of 8 million, is approximately 600 miles from Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak emerged in December. Fujian’s provincial government has recorded just fewer than 300 cases of coronavirus, approximately 50 of which were in Quanzhou. Although it is unknown when the Xinjia Hotel was repurposed to its current use, nearly 11,000 people in the province had been placed under observation after being classified as suspected close contacts with those diagnosed with coronavirus.
China has been particularly hard hit by the virus, confirming more than 80,600 cases and 3,070 disease-related deaths.
Officials confirmed 99 new cases in the country on March 7, the first daily increase of less than 100 in nearly two months.