Two kindergarten pupils died and 30 others were in hospital with suspected food poisoning in Qiubei county, Yunnan province, yesterday.
The deceased were girls aged four and five, Xinhua reported last night. Five pupils were in intensive care.
An official at the county government’s publicity office confirmed the report, saying the incident had traumatised the county because “nothing like this has ever happened in our memory”.
The first victim fainted about three hours after lunch, the report said. As teachers tried to revive her, six more pupils became seriously ill.
“The parents of the two dead students are heartbroken,” the official said. “We are doing everything possible to relieve their pain. Other parents are extremely anxious as doctors try to save their children.
“A joint investigation team from multiple government departments has been sent to the school. Whoever was responsible will be severely punished.”
The kindergarten, in Pinglong village, had 76 students. The official said that it was still unclear what the students had eaten.
“Medical experts are still trying to pin down the cause,” the official said, adding that it was most likely contaminated food.