Many places in Sichuan are being locked down or restricted and people can’t go out due to the implementation of the zero-COVID policy. At noon on September 5, Sichuan had a 6.8-magnitude earthquake in Luding District. Netizens said that pandemic prevention staff stopped people from running out to avoid the earthquake; or even though the aftershocks have not stopped, people have been asked to return home.

According to the Global Times, the epicenter was at a depth of 16 km below ground level.

Then, a 4.2-magnitude earthquake occurred in Shimian County, Ya’an City, Sichuan province. The aftershocks continued incessantly. Statistics show that 7 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.8 and above occurred in this area within 1 hour.

However, while the aftershocks have not ended, locals are not allowed to go to large outdoor places to avoid the natural disasters.

According to a video (0’08 – 0’20) posted online, people in an apartment complex argued with the management staff and asked to go out. But the staff refused.

In another scene (0’21 – 0’32), pandemic prevention workers wearing protective gear prevented residents from running out of a building to avoid the earthquake.

In yet another instance (0’41 – 0’46) people trapped in the building used their feet to kick on the iron door to vent their anger; there are also 3 to 5 people working together to pull the iron door open.

In the video (0’48 to the end) there is also a scene of an apartment worker walking while holding a small speaker and playing a pre-recorded clip telling residents, to return home quickly now that the earthquake is over. Don’t gather here. But The Epoch Times reported that netizens when they heard about this were angry and one said, “Isn’t this nonsense? After the earthquake, there are unpredictable aftershocks.”

A netizen posted a picture and said, “A minute ago, I received an earthquake warning, immediately ran downstairs, but the door of the building had been already locked.”

On the internet a message also spread from the management of an apartment building reading: “Dear landlords, there has been an earthquake, everyone, but don’t panic. Invite everyone to wear masks, take turns going upstairs to return home. During the pandemic prevention period, do not go downstairs, do not move, do not gather, and you are strictly prohibited from activities outside the home. Thank you!”

On his personal Twitter, account human rights lawyer Bao Longjun reposted a video of human rights lawyer Lu Siwei – who currently lives in Sichuan. Lu was stopped by a security guard because of pandemic restrictions when he was running downstairs to avoid the earthquake. He was also scolded by a couple living in the same building for daring to ask questions “Is lockdown against pandemic or the earthquake more dangerous?”

The Global Times, citing information from the Ministry of Transportation, said that the population within 20 km (12.43 miles) of the epicenter in Luding is about 390,000.

National Highway 318, the section passing through Luding, has 3 blocked points due to rocks blocking the road. All construction work around the quake’s epicenter has been suspended, with structures cracked or partially collapsed.

Jiemian News reported that as of 3:30 pm on September 5, 90% of flights at airports in Sichuan had been canceled. In addition, there is a video showing the upper floors of a high-rise in the province have collapsed. The videographer said, “Big trouble happened.”

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