(Reuters)

The victims of a bus crash which killed 27 people and injured a further 20 in southwest China’s Guizhou province were in an official government COVID transportation bus and were being transported for COVID reasons, local media reported on Sunday.

The accident took place in the early hours of Sunday morning in Sandu county, which lies around 170 km (105 miles) southeast of the provincial capital, Guiyang, police said.

The bus was carrying 47 people and the 20 injured were being treated in hospital on Sunday, police told Reuters on Sunday.

Unverified reports and photos of the bus had been circulating throughout Sunday afternoon on Chinese social media generating an outpouring of anger once again at China’s strict COVID policies and the initial lack of transparency from the authorities.

“All of us are on this bus,” was one popular comment being posted on social media app WeChat.

“When will all of this stop?” asked another.

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The crash quickly became the top trending topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Sunday afternoon before, shortly after, it disappeared from the top 50 trending topics.

At least some widely shared and angry blogs on the topic were deleted from WeChat soon after publication, but some reports and comments initially remained, but many of the more critical ones were removed.

Local media Caixin reported on Sunday that the victims were being transported for COVID reasons, citing sources at the Sandu County Emergency Management Bureau. Soon after a report in Tianyan News, which belongs to the state-owned Guizhou Daily said the bus was a vehicle specifically designed for transporting people to and from COVID quarantine.

“We have not yet confirmed this,” an official at the Sandu publicity department called Mr. Yang told Reuters on Sunday when asked about the reports. “Please monitor official websites. If there are any updates on this we will announce any details promptly.”

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Source: news