Journalists and Olympics athletes be damned, apparently you only get to skip Hong Kong’s rigid rules for COVID-19 quarantining if you’re Oscar-winning Australian actor Nicole Kidman. The Nine Perfect Strangers star was recently admitted into the country to film a forthcoming series for Amazon Video, titled Expats.
Expats is based on a 2016 novel from Janice Y.K. Lee, and tells the story of three American women living in Hong Kong. According to local media reports, the star arrived in the city on a private jet from Sydney on August 12, and was later spotted filming and shopping in Sai Wan.
The government of Hong Kong confirmed Kidman was granted special exemption from the quarantine rules as she is conducting “designated professional work.”
In a statement, the Hong Kong government said, “The case in discussion has been granted permission to travel to Hong Kong with a quarantine exemption for the purpose of performing designated professional work.” It added that the move was “conducive to maintaining the necessary operation and development of Hong Kong’s economy.”
Hong Kong has some of the most strict COVID-19 mitigation policies in the world. Currently, all arrivals from countries deemed “medium” risk need to quarantine in a hotel for 14 or 21 days at their own expense. Australia is now in the “medium risk” category. During the quarantine period, individuals must also undergo 4 tests, then self-monitor for the subsequent 7 days, and finally undergo compulsory testing on the 16th and 19th days of arrival. Tourists and unvaccinated residents from countries deemed “high risk” are no longer allowed entry, including those from the U.S., the U.K., and France. At the time of Kidman’s arrival she would have needed to comply with a 7-day quarantine period.
The move to allow Kidman entry without the quarantine period has sparked outrage amongst Hong Kong residents, as they face increasingly strict rules concerning travel.