Nicole Kidman has sparked outrage after she skipped Hong Kong's mandatory quarantine in order to film the Amazon series "Expats," which is being shot in the city.
Vaccinated people arriving in Hong Kong from Australia are currently required to quarantine in a hotel for seven days, although that will change by Friday to 14 days amid a surge in deltra variant cases. Kidman was exempted from these strict rules after catching a private jet from Sydney to Hong Kong on Aug. 12, according to HK01.
The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau confirmed the news Thursday in a statement to The South China Morning Post, explaining that the actress had been "granted permission to travel to Hong Kong with a quarantine exemption." This was given in Kidman's case for the performance of "designated professional work, taking into account that it is conducive to maintaining the necessary operation and development of Hong Kong’s economy."
The exemption was granted on several conditions. These include requirements for Kidman to reside in a "designated place of stay" and to take at least three COVID-19 tests during the first two weeks that she is in Hong Kong. Despite this, Kidman is facing backlash.
Two days after touching down last week, she was spotted visiting fashion stores at Queen’s Road Central.
"Just because she is a famous actress and a big name, she shouldn’t get any special treatment. Hong Kong government should be fair to everyone," said Florida de los Santos, a 36-year-old Filipino woman. "I’m so upset, why was she allowed to do that? It’s dangerous. When you come back from the Philippines, you have to quarantine for 21 days."
Maria Wu, whose friend’s 91-year-old mother had to quarantine for three weeks, meanwhile said it was not a surprise that Kidman was granted special treatment.
"That’s what you can get when you are rich and famous,” she said
Kidman faced equally harsh criticism on social media.
"It’s bad enough that Amazon is backing two whole shows about the glam lives of HK expats while many HKers are trying to flee a crackdown. Now add quarantine exceptionalism for Nicole Kidman, who apparently helps "maintain" the HK economy," one Twitter user wrote.
"Olympic medalists are required to quarantine in HK but Nicole Kidman doesn’t because she is a Hollywood star and needs to film “EXPATS,”" another tweeted.
"not surprised about #NicoleKidman zero quarantine in HK. Rita Ora was allowed into Australia when lots of Aussies couldn’t get home. When I was in lockdown in Barbados, the only time we were allowed outside was 6-9am/3-6pm; Netflix came over & shot Outer Banks all over the island," a third added.