BEIJING (AP) — A driver who fatally stabbed two people guarding a virus-control roadblock in southwestern China was sentenced to death Sunday, a state news agency reported.

The report was a rare sign of public defiance of sweeping anti-disease controls that suspended access to several major cities and shut down much of China’s economy starting in late January.

Ma Jianguo arrived at the roadblock in Honghe County in Yunnan province on Feb. 6, the Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Intermediate People’s Court of Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture.

A passenger in Ma’s minivan tried to remove the roadblock, Xinhua said. It said Ma stabbed a member of the checkpoint team who used a cellphone to film the incident and a second member who came to defend him.

The passenger was tried separately, Xinhua said.

Chinese authorities are trying to revive commercial activity but many controls on movement still are in effect.