SHANE Warne has blasted the draconian Australian lockdown insisting the country must "learn to live" with the coronavirus like the UK.
The Aussie cricketer, 52, considered one of the best bowlers ever, said his homeland has fallen behind the rest of the western world in transitioning to "Covid normal."
Australia has implemented brutal lockdown restrictions despite having a relatively low number of cases.
Last week, the country finally opened its borders to fully-vaccinated travellers meaning residents can finally reunite with loved ones living abroad for the first time since March 2020.
Warne, who lives in London, said Covid will be around "for a long time" and that Australia "needs to learn to live with it" rather than shutting down the economy and taking away basic freedoms.
He told the Today show: "Looking here in the UK, they're learning to live with it. They think it's unrealistic to have zero Covid.
"They've pleaded with the whole country to get vaccinated. Last time I looked, it was around 80 or 85 per cent 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 began easing pandemic restrictions on July 19 with just 68 per cent of the adult populations double jabbed.
Meanwhile, the Australian government says it does not intend to relax its lockdown until 80 per cent of over-16s are fully-vaccinated which is expected to happen on November 4.
However, locked down states Queensland and Western Australia say they want to maintain a ban on interstate travel until 90 per cent of residents are double-jabbed.
One of the hardest hit cities, Melbourne, has spent a world record 242 days in lockdown – surpassing the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires on September 23.
It has prompted protests across the country, with clashes in Melbourne and Sydney – and large rallies in Brisbane and Perth.
Elsewhere the crackdown on freedoms has stopped families saying goodbye to loved ones which, in once instance, saw cops prevent mourners from watching funerals from their cars.
Grieving families who parked up at Sydney's Rookwood Cemetery desperately tried to catch a glimpse of their loved ones' funerals but were turned away by police.
Under the current rules in New South Wales, only ten people are allowed to attend a funeral.
Devastated mourners told the Guardian that three families gathered at the cemetery, wearing masks and practising social distancing to watch the funerals from their cars.
They said that suddenly around ten police vehicles turned up, knocked on their car windows, and instructed them to leave.
Australia has suffered 1,357 deaths from 115,800 Covid cases since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, New Zealand on Monday abandoned its long-standing strategy of eliminating the coronavirus amid a Delta outbreak.
'LEARN TO LIVE WITH IT'
Wellington will instead look to live with the virus and control its spread as its vaccination rate rises.
The country was among just a handful of countries to bring cases down to zero last year and largely stayed virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in mid-August.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "With this outbreak and Delta the return to zero is incredibly difficult.
"This is a change in approach we were always going to make over time. Our Delta outbreak has accelerated this transition. Vaccines will support it."
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