Shane Warne has slammed Australia’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic as parts of the nation continue to suffer through lengthy lockdowns while other countries have already reopened.
The Aussie cricket legend, who is currently living in London, said his homeland has fallen behind the rest of the world in transitioning to ‘Covid normal’.
The sports star said the virus will be around ‘for a long time’ and Australia ‘needs to learn to live with it’ rather than resorting to shutting down the economy.
‘Looking here in the UK, they’re learning to live with it. They think it’s unrealistic to have zero COVID,’ he told the Today show on Tuesday.
Shane Warne (pictured) has slammed Australia’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it should be learning to live with the virus like other countries
‘They’ve pleaded with the whole country to get vaccinated. Last time I looked, it was around 80 or 85% of the population were double vaccinated.
‘All small businesses are allowed to open, people are allowed to travel, people are going to sporting events. It’s back to normal, you can go down the street without a mask.
‘I look at Australia, are we trying to live with it or eradicate it?’
The UK controversially scrapped coronavirus rules and reopened businesses on July 19, while just 68 per cent of the adult population was fully vaccinated and 87 per cent had received one dose.
In contrast, Australia does not plan to relax some Covid restrictions – such as international and domestic travel – until 80 per cent of over 16s are fully-vaccinated – a milestone expected to be hit around November 4.
While locked-down states like NSW and Victoria have vowed to reopen businesses at a 70 per cent double jab rate, Queensland and Western Australia have remained hesitant to abide by the national Covid plan.
The Australian cricket legend said the UK has already opened up businesses (pictured) and is adjusting to living with Covid
Millions of Australians remain under strict Covid-lockdowns as the nation waits for 80 per cent of the eligible population to be fully-vaccinated before easing restrictions. Pictured: A man walks through locked-down Sydney on September 28
The two states – which both previously signed onto the agreement – want to maintain their hard border policy, banning interstate travel until a 90 per cent double-dose threshold.
Warne called for The Ashes to be played in ‘open border’ states, such as NSW and VIC, to avoid UK cricketers quarantining twice.
English players have threatened to boycott the sporting event if their families are unable to travel with them Down Under due to Australia’s hardline international arrival policy.
While Warne believes Cricket Australia will likely strike a deal with the government to allow families on the tour, he thinks their decision to play will hinge on whether they will be required to do multiple 14-day stints in mandatory isolation.
‘The hardest thing I think for the England players is they have to quarantine in Australia.
Warne said The Ashes should be hosted by states with open border policies so English cricketers do not have to do multiple 14-day stints in quarantine
‘The first 14 days, with their families, that’s fine – [but] it’s hard for them to make the decision because the states keep changing their rules.
‘Let’s say the first Test is in Brisbane and then they have to travel to Adelaide or Perth after that it’s very hard with the regulations. They will have to do another 14-day quarantine. Then Perth won’t let you in.’
‘It’s fantastic to have a Test match in every state, but if the WA and Queensland bosses and leaders and Premiers don’t want to let people in and everyone has to do 14-day quarantine, then they won’t have a Test match.
Warne said Cricket Australia will likely rethink where the series is held, and suggested it take place in regions without intrastate quarantine requirements.
‘Maybe there’s a couple of Test matches in Sydney, maybe a couple in Melbourne and one somewhere else, maybe Tasmania or something like that, whatever states will allow them in after they’ve done the original 14 days of quarantine.’