Australia has been slammed as a "Covid Prison" on the front page of Britain's The Times newspaper as an international backlash grows over the nation's endless lockdowns, and border closures.
One of the world's oldest and most influential newspapers, The Times, has described Australia as "lecturing the world" on how to control Covid only to have the illusion shattered by the Delta variant.
The front-page pointer for the story states: Covid Prison: How Australia lost its freedom and features an image of a beach with a "closed" sign.
While Australia's 'zero Covid' approach was the envy of the world last year, the rising cases after the Delta variant entered the country and the lockdowns that followed have increasingly left overseas audiences shocked after international cities reopened after a majority of citizens were vaccinated.
"After a year celebrating pandemic death rates that were infinitesimal compared with those in the UK and the US, and lecturing the world on the superiority of its Covid-19 elimination strategy, Australia's success was shattered by the mid-June arrival of the Delta variant. It snuck in with an American flight crew," The Times article states.
"As they watched those in the UK flock to weddings and festivals last weekend, the 5.3 million residents of greater Sydney entered their tenth consecutive week of lockdown, unable to stray further than 5km from their house for outdoor recreation, as new daily Delta cases on Monday hit a fresh record of almost 1300 in New South Wales."
The Times notes that despite stopping thousands of Australian citizens from returning home, "a growing number of A-list celebrities have come and gone under special arrangements, including Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Zac Efron, Mark Wahlberg and Ed Sheeran".
"Their treatment has riled those stuck offshore, as well as many who are technically locked onshore; one of the more draconian measures imposed by Fortress Australia is that government permission is required to leave the country too," the article states.
"Even those Australians who have managed to return home after years away are stung by the hostility they encounter, especially when they question the hermit kingdom that Australia has become."
It's not the first time newspapers overseas have expressed shock at the situation Australia finds itself in. In July, The Washington Post ran a news story titled: 'We're prisoners': Australia locks out thousands more citizens as virus slip-ups mount.
"Facing outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant and a floundering vaccination campaign, Australia moved Friday to further seal itself off from the world as its earlier success in tackling the coronavirus continued to unravel," it stated.
The Times article follows a recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal headlined: Covid Mania Returns Australia to Its Roots as a Nation of Prisoners: Citizens in Sydney may leave their homes only for 'essential' purposes and not go more than six miles.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has also unleashed over what he's dubbed Australia's Covid-19 "totalitarianism" accusing state and federal governments of mindlessly embracing martial law.
The most watched cable news host in the United States, who pulls in three million viewers on average, he lashed Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
"In Australia, the government has implemented total lockdowns nationwide, and imposed martial law to enforce them," the Fox News host said.
"What's the justification for this? Here are the numbers: from mid-July to last week, the entire country of Australia — a population of 25 million — has averaged about 1.5 Covid deaths per day.
"That has been enough to justify the end of Australia and totalitarianism. In one recent case, authorities executed rescue dogs — shot them to death — to prevent Australian dog lovers from travelling to adopt them. Leaving your home is not allowed, so they just killed the dogs. And the population put up with it. They were told they had to."