Coronavirus quarantine hotel collapses in China

Rescuers searched through the rubble of a collapsed hotel in China on Sunday (March 8) that was being used to quarantine people under observation for the coronavirus.

More than 70 people were believed to have been inside the seven-storey building in the city of Quanzhou, which collapsed on Saturday (March 7) evening.

Dozens have been rescued but other remain trapped, and several have died.

A rescue force of over 1,000 people including firefighters and police forces responded to the incident, authorities said.

The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but the building's first floor had been under renovation, state media outlet Xinhua reported.

It said the owner of the building has been summoned by police.

The news comes as the spread of coronavirus continues to slow in China.

The country's National Health Commission confirmed 44 new cases of the COVID-19 disease as of the end of March 7, down by more than half on the day before.

Chinese cities are gradually relaxing quarantine measures put in place over a month ago while authorities keep a close watch in the spread of the virus overseas.