Nicole Kidman is facing growing online backlash after it was revealed she was allowed to skip hotel quarantine in Hong Kong.
The Nine Perfect Strangers star avoided quarantine in the city, where she’s currently filming a television series – and the locals don’t like it one bit.
Hong Kong’s Beijing-dominated government did not directly identify the 54-year-old Australian but said it had granted foreign overseas film personnel permission to skip quarantine for “the purpose of performing designated professional work”.
The government said the exemption was granted “taking into account that [the trip] is conducive to maintaining the necessary operation and development of HK’s economy”.
Kidman was spotted shopping and filming after arriving from Sydney last week, according to local media outlets. NSW reported its biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 infections on Thursday.
Harry Harrison acts as Interpreter for the Bombshell news of #NicoleKidman skipping quarantine in #HongKong while the government keeps its Eyes Wide Shut to the Big Little Lies in today’s @SCMPNews #cartoon pic.twitter.com/FYETbizhql
— Jarrod Watt (@Jay_Watt) August 19, 2021
The exemption prompted immediate public backlash.
“Why does she gets exemption? Arent the health and safety of HK people just as important. What if she and her team carries the variant,” one Twitter user wrote.
The exemption contrasts sharply with entry rules for residents that are some of the most stringent coronavirus requirements globally, sparking online criticism from residents in the special administrative region of China.
Kidman was in the former British colony to film an Amazon television series called The Expats, online news site HK01 reported, and was allowed to skip hotel quarantine altogether.
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. w/ @Jane_Li911: https://t.co/VmLhd70Fkg
— Mary Hui (@maryhui) August 19, 2021
The measures have led to many residents not being able to visit relatives and travel overseas for nearly two years, prompting an online backlash over Kidman’s exemption.
“So we have HK residents who can’t come back if not vaccinated (and even then with 2-3 weeks quarantine) but Nicole Kidman can just enter like this? It’s disgusting!” said one Twitter user.
The government this week said it was upgrading 15 overseas places including the US, Spain and France to “high risk” from “medium risk” which means that only vaccinated Hong Kong residents are allowed to enter and must face the 21-day hotel quarantine on arrival.
The measures have sparked chaos for travellers who are desperately trying to rebook hotel quarantine and flights with limited supply available.
Australia has been reclassified to “medium risk” from “low risk” from August 20, meaning that vaccinated arrivals need to quarantine for 14 nights.
Without the exemption, Kidman would have had to do seven days of hotel quarantine.