Australia’s fresh wave of Covid-19 outbreaks and lockdowns has drawn eyes around the world, with many international observers claiming “complacency” and the ragged vaccine rollout as prime causes.
Australia’s international reputation rose in the early stages of the pandemic, as swift lockdowns and then-controversial declarations of emergency helped the country limit its initial exposure to the virus.
However, the ongoing issues with Australia’s delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, a perceived carelessness about the impact of the virus, and Australia’s ongoing strict border closures, appear to be beginning to turn world opinion around.
“Australia’s COVID complacency” was one headline emblazoned on the CNN website.
Reporter Angela Dewan said Australians were beginning to wonder how long this could go on.
“Already there are signs that Australians are getting weary of these sporadic disruptions to their lives,” she wrote.
“On Sunday, large crowds were seen on Bondi Beach, despite the stay-at-home orders. While outdoor exercise is allowed, images from Bondi showed people bathing in the winter sun and sitting on benches with drinks.”
Meanwhile the BBC reported on Australia’s “vaccine hesitancy”, quoting a survey which showed that up to a third of Australians were worried about getting the jab.
The British broadcaster said Australia had one of the slowest vaccine rollouts among all the world’s developed countries.
“The caution mostly centres around side effects and a lack of urgency given Australia’s low infection rates,” reporters wrote.
“But hesitancy threatens to frustrate plans to open its borders, which are slated to remain shut until mid-2022.”
Writing for BBC online, Frances Mao said: “Experts say the nation’s defences have been beaten, multiple times, by the powerful variant. It’s breached hotel quarantine several times, raising concerns about air transmission.
“It’s also managed to break through relaxed distancing rules in society, latching onto unprotected workers. Mask-wearing is now back in almost every state in Australia.”
While Le Monde, in France, wrote: ‘Draconian measures in reaction to the very contagious Delta variant: the city of Sydney and Bangladesh [back in lockdown]’
Continuing: “Health experts and authorities warn that this variant could provoke a resurgence of the pandemic as soon as this summer if nothing is done to counter it.”