Videos purportedly showing Chinese residents being prevented from escaping from an earthquake due to coronavirus lockdowns are sparking outrage on social media.
Residents in the city of Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province were told to stay inside due to coronavirus lockdowns despite a 6.8 magnitude earthquake that collapsed buildings and killed at least 65 people, the BBC reported.
In one video posted on social media, with the caption “so terrifying, we all went downstairs because of the earthquake, but can’t get out,” residents were screaming to be let out by a guard standing outside.
“Hurry up, open the door, it’s an earthquake!” one resident reportedly shouted.
“It’s over, the earthquake’s already over,” the guard shouts back.
The Chengdu region is currently being subjected to strict coronavirus restrictions and in some instances, apartment buildings where one person tests positive for the virus are designated as “sealed areas” and residents are forbidden from leaving the building whether they are infected or not.
Across China, 65 million citizens in more than 30 cities have been placed under stringent coronavirus lockdown measures, according to the Chinese business magazine Caixin.
In another video, a loudspeaker message was reportedly telling residents to “go back home” because it’s “just an earthquake.”
One man told the BBC he tried to escape from his 30-floor building and was trapped at the gates and surrounded by people arguing about how to get out.
BBC reported that social media users in China were slamming the lockdowns in video comments, including one post that said it’s a “joke” there’s even a debate whether citizens should be able to flee buildings in the case of an earthquake.
“I guess it’s fine if I die inside the building, at least I didn’t get infected,” another social media user sarcastically commented.
The 6.8 magnitude quake hit a mountainous area in Luding county in Sichuan province shortly after noon on Monday, the China Earthquake Networks Center said.
Sichuan, which sits on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau where tectonic plates meet, is regularly hit by earthquakes. Two quakes in June killed at least four people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report