Sichuan city leaves zero-COVID lockdown

Most Chengdu residents are now out of a two-week lockdown, with some complaining the zero-COVID rules were heavy-handed and the policy's implementation was formulaic.

Officials put drastic limits on the movements of people living in the Sichuan capital on September 1, after coronavirus cases surged in late August.

The restrictions are now limited to specific communities still fighting the outbreak.

The metropolis suffered through heatwaves and power cuts, before a deadly magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the surrounding area.

While damage in the locked down areas was minimal, some residents were shocked to find they were barred from evacuating their apartments.

Their frustration boiled over into a rare display of protests, both in person and online.

China has used its controversial zero-COVID policy to keep cases low, but the highly-infectious Omicron variant is still spreading.

Critics say the strict rules are exacting a heavy economic and psychological toll.