70 trapped as hotel in China collapsed

A HOTEL used for medical observation of people who had contact with coronavirus patients collapsed in southeastern China on Saturday, March 7, 2020, trapping some 70 people, state media reported. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

At least 23 people were rescued from the wreckage of the Xinjia Express Hotel in Quanzhou, a city in Fujian province, the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily and other outlets reported.

The 80-room hotel had been converted by the city government for observation of people who had contact with virus patients, according to People’s Daily.

The hotel collapsed at about 7:30 p.m., news reports said, citing the city government.

Photos on news websites showed rescue workers with flashlights climbing over the debris. Rubble was piled on cars in front of the building.

The hotel opened in June 2018, the newspaper Beijing Youth Daily said.

An unidentified hotel employee cited by the Beijing Youth Daily said the owner carried out “foundation-related construction” before the disaster. It gave no details.

China, where the virus first emerged in December, has confirmed more than 80,000 cases, by far the most in the world. It reported 99 new cases on Saturday, its first daily increase of less than 100 since Jan. 20. The government also reported 28 new fatalities, raising the mainland’s death toll to 3,070. (AP)