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The bus overturned on a highway, killing 27 people on board. Photo: Weibo

27 dead, 20 injured in China after bus taking people to Covid-19 quarantine crashes

  • Authorities say the vehicle was travelling from the Guizhou capital of Guiyang with ‘people affected by coronavirus controls’
  • City has been busing contacts of cases to centres outside Guiyang
Twenty-seven people were killed and 20 injured after a bus taking people to quarantine crashed in southern China on Sunday morning, prompting anger online about the country’s tough Covid-19 restrictions.

Police in the Sandu Shui autonomous county said the vehicle was travelling from Guiyang, Guizhou province, to Libo on the Sanli highway with 47 people on board. As of noon, 27 were dead.

Police offered no explanation for the crash.

Photos circulating online purported to show everybody on the bus in PPE. Photo: Weibo

Internet users said the bus was transporting contacts of Covid-positive patients from Guiyang, but the comments were soon censored.

Unconfirmed photos posted online showed everyone on the vehicle, including the driver, wearing white hazmat suits and goggles.

The official Guizhou Daily confirmed on Sunday night that the coach was transporting people “affected by Covid-19 outbreak controls”.


Guizhou Communist Party secretary Shen Yiqin and governor Li Bingjun ordered an investigation team to be established and severe punishment for those liable.

They also said lessons must be learned from the crash, Guizhou Daily reported.

“We should learn from the lessons of the accident, review the isolation and transfer of people involved in the epidemic and the potential dangers for traffic safety, and carry out rectification,” the officials were quoted as saying.

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The crash prompted criticism online about the aggressive control measures China is using to try to contain Covid-19 cases.

“What will the government say to people?” a Weibo user said. “Covid didn’t kill people, instead, they were killed on the way to be quarantined. That is really ridiculous.”


Guizhou province has recorded two Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

“This is the biggest tragedy resulting from unscientific Covid control measures,” another Weibo user said.

Guiyang, a city of nearly 6 million people, went into a snap lockdown at the start of the month and many residents have been struggling to get enough food.


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Wang Jie, a Guiyang official in charge of the quarantine transfers, said on Saturday that many of the thousands of people believed to have been exposed to the virus had been transferred to quarantine centres. Because of limited capacity in the city, some of those affected were taken to centres outside Guiyang, he said in a media conference about the outbreak.


As of Saturday, 7,396 people had been transferred out of town, with another 2,900 people on their way, Wang said.

Guiyang deputy secretary general He Chengjiang pledged all-out efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Guiyang will … concentrate superior military forces, speed up the identification of the source of infection, and quickly surround, mobilise, and extinguish the outbreak, so that society will be cleared for a decisive victory,” He said.