SICHUAN – The debate over what should be done when emergencies arise in locked-down regions has once again come into the spotlight after residents of Sichuan said they were barred from leaving their homes even as a major earthquake shook the Chinese province.

As China battles its broadest yet Covid-19 outbreak with more than 30 cities and an estimated of 65 million people being placed under some sort of lockdown, a legal expert told Caixin that the right to life is the basis of a civilised society, and that an individual’s life shouldn’t be sacrificed to protect collective interests.