Australia has been hailed from around the world for making our response to Covid an ‘international laughing stock’ as millions of people are confined to their homes with businesses and schools closed and borders closed due to the latest Covid outbreak.
At least 14 million Australians are only able to leave their homes for essential reasons because of an outbreak of the Indian Delta variant that initially spread through Sydney from an unvaccinated and unmasked limousine driver to Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
The rest of the world has reacted with shock that three of Australia’s largest cities have been closed indefinitely, despite the number of infections being negligible compared to what was experienced elsewhere.
Australia has recorded 32,269 cases and 915 deaths since the pandemic first hit our shores 18 months ago.
By comparison, the UK has had more than 5.5 million infections and nearly 128,000 deaths, while in the US more than 35 million have contracted the virus that has claimed 625,000 lives.
When NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced it would close all construction and non-essential stores on Saturday to bring the outbreak under control, 111 cases were recorded from 82,000 tests, a positive test rate of just 0.138 percent.
The news sparked outrage across the world, where a woman from the US tweeted a Nine News segment with the tagline, “Australia is not okay.”
Australia is the laughingstock of the world with news that half of the country, including Melbourne (pictured) is locked
The tweet is still going viral five days later and was flooded with thousands of comments on Thursday morning.
“I am so sad for Australia. By the way, I live in Italy. I want to go back to Australia. But if this is Australia now, well, no thanks. I’ll stay here until things get back to normal,” one Australian wrote.
When a Melburnian noted that he was stuck in his fifth lockdown and recalled the draconian restrictions imposed on the city for 112 days last year, including a one-hour limit on exercise, someone from the US replied: hours of sports? Prisoners.’
Others were stunned to learn that just one Covid death, a man in his 80s, was recorded last Saturday, the third in NSW since the latest outbreak began in mid-June.
“Not being insensitive, but closing the scene for the death of an elderly man in his eighties is insane. Authorities are looking for a reason to keep it all quiet, that’s clear now,” one wrote.
Another added: ‘So they are closing again at a positive rate of 0.013 percent and three deaths? Let me guess, they ‘will get it right this time’ by making them even more draconian, ostensibly to make sure we ‘beat Covid once and for all?’
Others were shocked to learn that nearly 900,000 residents in southwestern Sydney have been ordered not to leave their local government area as part of the new restrictions.
“You know who else gets an hour of exercise a day? Prisoners.’
“So everything shuts down 900,000 people, because of all 111 positive Covid cases and 1 death from an 83-year-old man. Wow! That’s really insane madness going overboard. Wow!
Of the 915 Australian deaths, 820 were recorded in Victoria during the state’s 2020 horror wave.
The entire state of Victoria is currently on lockdown for the fifth time in 16 months, despite no Covid deaths yet on record in 2021.
This tweet and footage from a Sydney news segment shared by a woman in the US is still going viral five days later
The global response to the viral tweet prompted Sydney breakfast radio broadcaster Ben Fordham to unleash another extraordinary attack on lockdowns as he read out some of the responses.
“People in other parts of the world can’t believe it,” Fordham told 2GB listeners on Thursday morning.
“Now, it must be said, many of them would envy that we have had a small number of deaths compared to other parts of the world.
“But we have been led to believe that lockdowns are normal – they are not.
“They shouldn’t be seen as optional extras that can be taken away in a minute.”
He called for a higher value on Australians’ freedoms, while lashing out at state prime ministers using lockdowns as an easy option when outbreaks have arisen.
Sydneysiders are about to enter their fifth week of lockdown. Pictured are residents in Liverpool, where residents cannot leave the LGA unless they are an essential worker
We have been led to believe that lockdown is normal – it is not. Our parents and our grandparents died for our freedom,Fordham continued.
“So if you suddenly decide to take that away, you better have a good reason.”
“Lockdowns were sometimes necessary, but they have become the easy option, making it damn hard for everyone.
‘Sydney is a tough city, don’t get me wrong. It’s the Australian version of New York – if you can make it, you can make it anywhere.
“But we won’t be forever treated like sheep and hypnotized by the mythical health advice – we want to know the facts, what justified every decision.
‘If plan ‘a’ fails, what is plan ‘b’? We have to learn to live with the virus.’
Fordham said it’s gotten to the point where we have to live with the virus and put some life back in its place by slowly increasing freedoms when it’s safe to do.
He heeded advice from Kerry Chant, NSW’s chief health officer, following her recent advice earlier this week to Sydneysiders not to engage in conversations with neighbors and friends as the virus continues to spread.
“We know the disease is terrible, but the reaction is taking its toll on millions and millions of people,” he said.
“The drug gets just as bad as the disease.”
Mostly bustling with Sydneysider and tourists, photos of an abandoned Circular Quay have caught the attention of media outlets the other side of the world, including the New York Times
As Sydney heads into a fifth week of lockdown, the New York Times splashed a photo of the city’s iconic Opera House looking desolate across its front page.
“Places like Australia, which has closed its border, are learning they can’t keep the virus out,” the article reads.
‘Countries with a zero-infection ambition are coming to terms with the idea that pandemic policy is no longer workable.
More officials are encouraging people to return to their daily routine and transition to a new normal. But scientists warn it may be too early to design exit strategies for the pandemic.
Fordham wasn’t the only broadcaster to join the debate with Sky News presenter Alan Jones adding his two cents in an op-ed for the Daily Telegram.
Of the 255,000 tests in Greater Sydney over three days last weekend, 99.87 percent were negative.
Jones said Ms Berejiklian had forfeited her right to be believed after she recently claimed that we cannot live freely and safely until the outbreak is quashed.
“There is no scientific evidence for anything that these health officials and politicians are demanding of us,” he wrote.
‘Why are those who have tested positive not told how old they are? Why aren’t their comorbidities told? Why aren’t we told how many people are obese?’
He added that no one batted an eyelid when 1,255 flu deaths in Australia in 2017 and 417 people die every day in Australia.
“I say this because we have previously walked this alarmist track, where we were forced to get information from ‘experts’ and ‘politicians’ with virtually no evidence to justify their alarmist talk,” Jones continued.
2GB breakfast show Ben Fordham (pictured) called for an end to lockdowns on his radio show on Thursday
Another News Corp columnist, Angela Mollard, wrote an op-ed for the Daily Mail’s The Mail on Sunday last weekend.
She remembered how Australia has turned from the world’s envy for its low death toll, quick and effective lockdowns, formidable contact tracing and routine ‘donut days’ into a ‘hermit kingdom’ in just minutes.
“According to public health experts and epidemiologists, we could be isolated for years,” the journalist wrote.
With our ambitions focused on elimination rather than suppression of the virus, tightly closed borders plus a paltry vaccination rate of nine percent – the lowest among developed countries – the outlook for ‘Zero Covid’ looks as dated and parochial as the Crocodile Dundee Movies.’
“As Brits pour into Wembley and Wimbledon and Americans take our spots in Sumatran surf resorts, Australians are trapped in an ideal that quickly proves unworkable.”
Another Australian journalist Sarah Williamson, who works in Tel Aviv, has also recently criticized her home country’s Covid lockdown and closed border policies.
Understand me tonight on @n12news if I’m excited about Australia’s Covid-19 lockdowns and their ridiculous border policies, she recently posted on Instagram.
“Australia’s frequent lockdowns, the slow rollout of vaccines and strict border policies are making headlines worldwide.”
Melbournians (pictured) are back in lockdown for the fifth time in 16 months, despite the state not registering any Covid deaths in 2021 so far