A hotel serving as a coronavirus quarantine center collapsed on Saturday night in China, killing at least 10 people. Another 23 people remain missing.
Rescue workers are sorting through the rubble of the seven-story Xinjia Hotel in the city of Quanzhou, in southern China, in search of the remaining people. There were 80 people in the building at the time of the collapse — nine escaped before it fully fell and 48 people have been rescued so far, the country’s Ministry of Emergency Management said, according to CNN.
“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,” said Guo Yutuan, one of the emergency workers leading the operation.
The building owner is now in police custody.
The hotel was being used as a quarantine center for people who do not have the new coronavirus, officially termed COVID-19, but were under observation after being in close contact with people who did.
XIAO FAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Workers rescue people from the Xinjia Hotel collapse
The building was erected in 2013 and then remodeled into a hotel in 2018, and the owner started renovating the first floor in January. Around 7 p.m. on Saturday, building workers called the owner and said that a pillar was tilting. The building collapse came a few minutes later.
Police are currently investigating the cause of the collapse.
As of Sunday, there have been 296 cases of coronavirus in Fujian province, where Quanzhou is located, the World Health Organization reports. One person in the area has died of coronavirus-related illness.
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The new coronavirus was first found in China, and spread rapidly through the country. China still has the most reported cases of coronavirus, with 80,735 as of Monday, though new cases have slowed significantly. In the last 24 hours, there were just 44 new cases of the virus, far lower than at the peak of the outbreak when the country was reporting around 1,000 new cases a day.
Worldwide, there are now over 105,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 31,484 people have died.