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China quarantine hotel collapse kills 10

A BOY is rescued from the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Quanzhou, in China's eastern Fujian province. (AFP)

A BOY is rescued from the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Quanzhou, in China’s eastern Fujian province, which was used a coronavirus quarantine facility. (AFP)

BEIJING, China (AFP) – At least 10 people were killed in the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China, authorities said yesterday.

Rescuers retrieved 48 people from the rubble, of whom 38 are still alive, the Ministry of Emergency Management said on social media.

The building in the coastal city of Quanzhou had been repurposed to house people who recently had contact with patients confirmed with COVID-19, the state-run People’s Daily newspaper reported.

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-story 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 published by local media appears to show the hotel collapsing in seconds.

Other videos circulating on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform show workers combing through the rubble in the dark as they reassure a woman trapped under heavy debris and carry injured people to ambulances.

The building’s facade appeared to have crumbled to the ground, exposing the structure’s steel frame.

Nine people escaped on their own at the time of the collapse, the ministry said.

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.

The owner has been summoned by police while investigators work to determine whether or not the renovation or an original structural issue was at fault, according to the ministry.