47 survivors are pulled from the rubble of Chinese coronavirus quarantine hotel as desperate search goes on for 23 still missing
- Around 70 people were trapped after hotel in China’s Fujian province collapsed
- Xinjia Hotel in Quanzhou city collapsed around 7:30pm (11:30 GMT) on Saturday
- 47 found alive after rescue teams worked through the night to save them, but the fate of 23 others are still unknown
Forty seven people have been rescued from the remains of a hotel in China being used to quarantine coronavirus victims after it collapsed.
The five-storey Xinjai hotel in Quanzhou came down on Saturday, trapping about 70 people, state media said.
Rescue workers toiled through the night to pull survivors out, but were still looking for another 23 people on Sunday morning.
Around 70 people were trapped after a hotel collapsed in China’s eastern Fujian province on Saturday evening, officials said
Xinjia Hotel in Quanzhou City collapsed around 7:30 pm (11:30 GMT) and around 23 people had been rescued by 9:00 pm, according to a local government statement
A video stream posted by the government-backed Beijing News site showed rescue workers in orange overalls clambering over the rubble of the Quanzhou Xinjia Hotel and carrying people towards ambulances.
The hotel collapsed at about 7:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) and 34 people were rescued in the following two hours, the Quanzhou municipality said on its website.
By dawn on Sunday, 47 individuals had been rescued, according to state media outlet People’s Daily.
‘I was at a gas station and heard a loud noise. I looked up and the whole building collapsed. Dust was everywhere, and glass fragments were flying around,’ a witness said in a video posted on the Miaopai streaming app.
‘I was so terrified that my hands and legs were shivering.’
A woman named only by her surname, Chen, told the Beijing News website that relatives including her sister had been under quarantine at the hotel as prescribed by local regulations after returning from Hubei province, where the coronavirus emerged.
She said they had been scheduled to leave soon after completing their 14 days of isolation.
‘I can’t contact them, they’re not answering their phones, she said.
‘I’m under quarantine too (at another hotel) and I’m very worried, I don’t know what to do. They were healthy, they took their temperatures every day, and the tests showed that everything was normal.’
Quanzhou is a port city on the Taiwan Strait in the province of Fujian with a population of more than 8 million.
The official People’s Daily said the hotel had opened in June 2018 with 80 rooms.
Beijing News’ video stream was viewed by more than 2 million Weibo users on Saturday evening, and the hotel’s collapse was the top trending topic on the Weibo site, China’s close equivalent to Twitter.
Some users demanded a investigation into how the hotel could have collapsed.
Anger has been building up against the authorities in China over their early handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 3,300 people globally, most of them in China.
The Fujian provincial government said that as of Friday, the province had 296 cases of coronavirus and 10,819 people had been placed under observation after being classified as suspected close contacts.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the committee responsible for working safety under the State Council, China’s cabinet, had sent an emergency working team to the site.
The 80-room hotel (pictured) was recently reportedly converted to a quarantine facility for people who had recent contact with coronavirus patients
Shocking footage captures vehicles left underneath the falling debris. A separate clip showed rescuers searching for injured people after the hotel collapsed overhead
The horrific aftermath, which was caught on camera, shows the hotel levelling to the ground as rescue workers battled on
Italy recruits retired doctors to battle coronavirus crisis as deaths rise to 197 while more than 60 mourners at a funeral in Spain have been infected as the WHO warns all countries to make containment their ‘highest priority’
Italy is recruiting retired doctors in a bid to battle the spread of deadly coronavirus as the World Health Organisation warned all countries to make containment their ‘highest priority’.
Italy has seen the biggest coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 197 deaths and more than 4,600 cases.
The decision to bring in 20,000 additional staff to fight the escalating epidemic was one of several measures adopted by the government during an all-night cabinet meeting after the country reported 49 more deaths in one day.
It comes as the WHO told all countries to make containment ‘their highest priority’ as the global death toll reaches 3,000 with more than 100,000 confirmed cases.
Italy is recruiting retired doctors in a bid to battle the spread of deadly coronavirus as the World Health Organisation warned all countries to make containment their ‘highest priority’. Pictured: A woman wearing a mask at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome
Italy has seen the biggest coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 197 deaths and more than 4,600 cases. Pictured: A tourist wearing a face mask takes pictures inside the Duomo cathedral in Milan
Three health workers in protective suits wait to check a motorist at a drive-through testing centre for coronavirus in Seoul
The WHO called the spread of the coronavirus ‘deeply concerning’.
The Italian government said its medical recruitment drive should help double the staff of hospitals’ respiratory and infectious disease departments.
It should also increase the number of intensive care beds from 5,000 to 7,500 in the coming days.
Similar methods are being adopted in China where veteran Dr Dong Jie – who helped combat the SARS outbreak in 2003 – has been drafted back in to help deal with coronavirus.
More than 60 people are believed to have caught coronavirus after attending a funeral in northern Spain.
Today, another passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died, bringing ship’s death toll to seven.
The passenger, a non-Japanese male, died on Friday.
A man wears a protective mask as he shops in a supermarket in Hanoi, Vietnam, after a 26-year-old Vietnamese woman recently back from Europe tested positive for coronavirus
Indian security personnel wear facemasks as preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus in Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata
Health chiefs have confirmed they are looking at ‘one isolated event’ as the source of the outbreak that has potentially infected about 60 people from Álava and La Rioja, according to the results of tests carried out at the National Centre for Microbiology.
It comes as Vietnam reported its first new coronavirus case in three weeks as a woman who had returned from a trip to Europe during which she visited London, Milan and Paris.
Nguyen Hong Nhung, 26, was admitted to a hospital in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday suffering from a fever.
In Greece, a row has erupted between doctors and the influential Church of Greece over whether to restrict Holy Communion amid a rising number of coronavirus cases.
The Vatican is also unrolling unprecedented health precautions designed to keep the tiny city state’s 450 mostly elderly residents safe. Pictured: A man wearing a mask in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican
In Greece, a row has erupted between doctors and the influential Church of Greece over whether to restrict Holy Communion amid a rising number of coronavirus cases. Pictured: A man wearing a mask in Thessaloniki, Greece
The federation of hospital doctors this week stressed that no exception ‘for religious, sacramental or metaphysical reasons’ should be made to state health warnings to please the Church.
Greece has so far confirmed 45 coronavirus cases, most of them among a group of pilgrims that travelled to Israel and Egypt last month.
But in the run-up to Orthodox Easter in April that traditionally sees a high turnout, the church is holding its ground.
‘It’s not possible to shut down churches, or to not give out Holy Communion,’ bishop Chrysostomos of Patras, one of the areas with the most virus cases, said this week.
‘Whoever believes that holy communion is life has nothing to fear, it’s a matter of faith.
‘Across the centuries, there is no case of sickness spreading through Holy Communion,’ he told Open TV.
Greece has so far confirmed 45 coronavirus cases, most of them among a group of pilgrims that travelled to Israel and Egypt last month. Pictured: A woman wears a protective face mask as she walks in front of the Patras University Hospital in Greece, where three patients infected with coronavirus
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism Klaus Regling bump fists instead of shake hands in Athens, Greece
In Romania, the Orthodox Church has allowed worshippers to bring their own spoon to communion and to kiss icons in their own homes.
The accelerating spread of coronavirus emptied Italian train stations and airports while turning parts of Rome into a ghost town.
Many of the city’s outdoor restaurants and cafes were either closed on Friday night or had free tables.
The expansive street that runs from Rome’s Colosseum along the Forum was deserted and the magnificent ruins weren’t swarmed by tourists.
The sharp drop in visitor numbers is wreaking havoc with the Italian tourism industry and contributing to fears that the anaemic economy is about to tip back into recession.
In Egypt, a cruise ship on the Nile River – with over 150 tourists and local crew – is in quarantine after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus
But the government’s most immediate concern is that coronavirus infections that had been largely contained to pockets of the richer north will start spreading into the poorer and less medically equipped south.
The World Health Organization concluded a mission to Italy on Friday by recommending the government keep ‘a strong focus on containment measures’.
The Vatican is also unrolling unprecedented health precautions designed to keep the tiny city state’s 450 mostly elderly residents safe.
A first coronavirus infection was recorded at one of its clinics on Thursday.
The Vatican is expected to announce Saturday whether Pope Francis will still deliver his Angelus Prayer from a window facing Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday afternoon.
Workers disinfect the ground around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
There has been media speculation that the pope might deliver the prayer by video link for the very first time.
The Vatican said on Thursday is was considering changes to the pope’s schedule ‘to avoid the dissemination’ of the new disease.
With the elderly among the most at-risk groups, French President Emmanuel Macron urged people to limit visits to the old and infirm as much as possible to avoid further spread.
‘The nation is behind our old… (but) during this epidemic and we need to limit our visits as much as we can,’ Macron said.
There have been nine recorded virus deaths in France.
Meanwhile in Switzerland, the authorities urged the over-65s to avoid travelling at peak hours and banned meetings of more than 150 people.
A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan
In Washington, the coronavirus is getting a new name from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – the ‘Wuhan virus’ – to the anger of China where the virus was first detected.
The Netherlands reported its first virus death on Friday, while Malta, Serbia, Slovakia, Peru, Togo, Colombia and Cameroon announced their first cases .
The 100,000 figure of global infections dwarfs other major outbreaks in recent decades, such as Sars, Mers and Ebola.
China reported 99 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its first daily increase of less than 100 since January 20.
The government reported 28 deaths in the 24 hours through to midnight on Friday.
Overall, China now has 22,177 patients in treatment, while 55,404 have been released.
South Korea, the hardest-hit country outside China, has reported 448 new cases to bring its total to 7,041.
In Iran, newly-elected politician Fatemeh Rahabar, 55, died from the virus as the number of infections there rose by more than 1,000 overnight, with 145 deaths.
Many governments have imposed restrictions on visitors from China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Serbia said it might deploy the army to keep the virus at bay, while in Switzerland the military is being readied to provide support services at hospitals after 210 new cases were reported on Friday.
In Iran, newly-elected politician Fatemeh Rahabar, 55, died from the virus as the number of infections there rose by more than 1,000 overnight, with 145 deaths. Pictured: A man in a protective suit walks in Beit Jala, West Bank
French health minister Olivier Veran said children will be banned from visiting patients in hospitals and other health facilities across the country, and patients will be limited to one adult visit at a time.
Spanish officials have announced a month-long closure of 200 centres in and around Madrid where the elderly go for daytime care and activities.
The global economy, meanwhile, faces mounting damage due to anti-virus controls that shut down much of China’s economy and are disrupting travel and trade worldwide.
In Egypt, a cruise ship on the Nile River – with over 150 tourists and local crew – is in quarantine after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus.
A Taiwanese-American tourist who had previously been on the same ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan.
The World Health Organization informed Egyptian authorities, who tested everyone currently on the ship.
Health authorities in Egypt released a statement Friday saying they’d found a dozen Egyptian crew members on the ship had contracted the fast-spreading virus, but did not show symptoms.
The statement said the 12 will be transferred to isolation in a hospital on Egypt’s north coast. The passengers – who include Americans, French and other nationalities – and crew will remain quarantined on the ship awaiting further test results.
A man in a protective suit walks outside Angel Hotel where, according to a Palestinian government official, a group of American visitors have been quarantined as part of precautions against the coronavirus in Israeli-occupied West Bank
The new virus cluster brought the total number of cases in Egypt to 15.
It came just days after three people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the U.S. state of Texas.
Officials in the city of Houston said Thursday that they believe the three were exposed to the virus while on a trip to Egypt in late February.
It was not immediately clear if the Texan tourists were on the same boat where the cluster occurred, how long the passengers on the ship had been quarantined, nor where exactly the initial Taiwanese tourist had contracted the virus.
The United Arab Emirates reported 15 additional coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 45.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, announced there would be no spectators for sports competitions and games starting Saturday in order to combat the spread of the virus.
The kingdom has five confirmed cases, but has taken unprecedented measures against the virus’ spread, including halting all pilgrimage in Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.
Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises by 21 to reach 145 including second politician to die from the infection
The number of deaths caused by coronavirus infections in Iran rose by 21 over the past 24 hours to reach 145 on Saturday, a health ministry official said.
The number of people testing positive for the virus increased by more than 1,000 over the past 24 hours, reaching 5,823 on Saturday, he said in a televised briefing.
The figure comes after Iranian authorities warned yesterday they may use ‘force’ to limit travel between cities in the hope of containing the virus.
Speaking at a news conference, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour did not elaborate on the threat to use force, but acknowledged the virus now was in all of Iran’s 31 provinces.
The threat may be to stop people from using closed schools and universities as an excuse to go to the Caspian Sea and other Iranian vacation spots.
And in another sign coronavirus is spreading within state institutions, it was announced that female lawmaker Fatemah Rahbar, an MP, had died.
Her death came after the reported death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of the Expediency Council.
The council exists to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council, a governmental body that vets electoral candidates among other duties.
Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, and another member of parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, also said they have contracted the virus.
It comes as members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard wore gas masks to spray down streets and hospitals with disinfectant.
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