'Governments restricted not only freedom of movement, but also freedom of expression,' the human rights group said.
In its annual report, Amnesty International said global inequalities had been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic and denounced richer countries for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines.
Wealthy countries are failing a "rudimentary" test of global solidarity by keeping the jabs, it said on Wednesday.
The NGO also said in its report that the pandemic exposed the "magisterial failure" of global institutions, claiming they "are not fit" for the purposes they are intended to serve.
Amnesty added numerous countries - including France, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia in Europe - have curtailed "freedom of expression" by misusing "existing and new legislation" in the fight against COVID-19.
According to the human rights group, other nations, including Albania, Belarus, Turkey and Ukraine, didn't take sufficient measures to protect journalists and whistle-blowers who criticised the government's response to the health crisis.
But it said the pandemic pushed a new class of leaders to emergence, referring in particular to workers on the frontline of the health emergency, citing not just nurses and doctors but also drivers, cleaners and police officers.
Watch Euronews' interview with Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director Netsanet Belay in the above player.