Guizhou: 27 dead, 20 injured after Covid quarantine bus overturns in ravine in China


A bus carrying people to a Covid-19 quarantine facility in southwest China’s Guizhou province overturned in a ravine early Sunday, killing 27 people and injuring 20, local authorities said at a news conference.

According to Lin Gang, the vice mayor of Guiyang, the bus was carrying 45 residents from the provincial capital Guiyang to Libo County, a remote and mountainous town 155 kilometers away, for quarantine. The bus left Guiyang at 12:10 a.m. (12:10 a.m. Saturday ET) and overturned on the highway at 2:40 a.m.

The cause of this accident is still under investigation, Lin said.

It is still unclear why a quarantine bus would leave after midnight to transport people to another city for quarantine. Chinese transport regulations prohibit the use of long-distance passenger buses between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Local authorities have been under pressure to achieve the “zero Covid” target. The Guiyang Evening Paper said on Saturday that the city had prepared 20 buses and 40 bus drivers to transport close contacts of Covid patients to other cities.

And on Saturday, the city had evacuated more than 7,000 people to other cities and nearly 3,000 more were waiting to be evacuated from Guiyang.

News of the deaths sparked an outcry on Chinese social media, with many questioning the country’s increasingly strict zero-Covid policy.

Many reports of the crash published by state media have banned comment, and the results of Guizhou’s search appear to have filtered through Chinese social media.

Guizhou Province has stepped up Covid-19 testing and quarantine measures due to its outbreak. The province reported 712 new cases on Saturday, more than all other provinces combined, according to China’s National Health Commission.