Amidst coronavirus carnage in China, at least six people were killed east of the country after the collapse of a hotel used as a quarantine facility.
Rescuers retrieved 43 people from the rubble, of whom 37 are still alive, the ministry said on its firefighting department’s social media account.
The coastal city of Quanzhou has recorded 47 cases of the COVID-19 infection and the hotel had been repurposed to house people who had been in recent contact with confirmed patients, the People’s Daily state newspaper reported.
Video posted by the firefighting department showed rescuers putting a surgical mask on children as they were pulled from the rubble of the six-storey Xinjia hotel, including a twelve-year-old boy and another much younger child.
Rescuers were also shown spraying disinfectant on each other as part of “strict decontamination” between shifts.
Footage published by local media, purportedly from security cameras across the street, showed the hotel collapsing in seconds.
Other videos circulating on the Twitter-like Weibo platform showed rescue workers combing through the rubble of the hotel in the dark as they reassured a woman trapped under heavy debris and carried injured people to ambulances.
The building’s facade appeared to have crumbled to the ground, exposing the structure’s steel frame.
Nine people escaped from the hotel on their own at the time of the collapse, the Ministry of Emergency Management said.
The building’s first floor has been undergoing renovation since before the Lunar New Year, and construction workers called the hotel’s owner minutes before the collapse to report a deformed pillar, the ministry said.
The building’s owner has been summoned by police, and local authorities are still determining whether it was the renovation or an original structural issue that caused the collapse, according to the ministry.