A hotel in the coastal city of Quanzhou had been repurposed to house people who have had contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients, the state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported.
Rescuers are searching for 19 people who remain trapped in rubble following the collapse of the hotel, at least ten people were killed in the collapse.
Rescuers retrieved 48 people from the rubble, of whom 38 are still alive, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on social media. The city has recorded 47 cases of the virus.
Video posted online by the ministry’s firefighting department showed rescuers helping children don surgical masks before pulling them from the wreckage of the six-storey Xinjia hotel, including a 12-year-old boy.
Rescuers were also seen spraying disinfectant on each other as part of “strict decontamination” measures between shifts.
Footage circulating on microblogging platform Weibo showed rescue workers combing through the rubble of the 80-room Xinjia hotel in coastal Quanzhou city in the dark as they reassured a woman trapped under heavy debris and carried wounded victims into ambulances.
The building’s facade appeared to have crumbled to the ground, exposing the structure’s steel frame.
The first floor had been undergoing renovation since before the Lunar New Year holiday, and construction workers called the hotel’s owner minutes before the collapse to report a deformed pillar, authorities said.
More than 800 rescuers and 750 medical staff were deployed for the rescue effort along with 20 ambulances, the ministry said.