Rescue efforts are ongoing in Quanzhou (Fujian province) as of the morning (local time) of Sunday, March 8, after a hotel being used as a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine facility collapsed during the previous evening. An estimated 19 people are still trapped in the rubble, while emergency personnel have rescued 48 others since Saturday, March 7. As of Sunday morning, at least four fatalities have been confirmed by local officials. It remains unclear what caused the building to collapse. Emergency rescue operations are expected to continue at the site over the coming hours. Lingering disruptions to transportation and business are possible in the affected area over the coming hours.
Also on Sunday, health officials confirmed the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases and associated fatalities nationwide since January. An additional 44 cases were confirmed on Saturday, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 80,695. Authorities also reported 27 deaths, increasing the nationwide total to 3097 since the start of the outbreak. Almost all of the new cases and fatalities were recorded in Hubei province. Significant transportation and business disruptions are expected to persist throughout China as authorities continue to attempt to contain the outbreak.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals in Quanzhou (Fujian province) are advised to monitor developments, avoid the vicinity of the collapsed hotel, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.