Nicole Kidman Allowed to Skip Hong Kong’s Rigid Quarantine Rules
(Bloomberg) -- Hollywood actor Nicole Kidman secured an exemption from strict Hong Kong quarantine rules to shoot a television series in the city, stoking critics of the government’s Covid-19 enforcement policies.
A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau on Thursday confirmed local media reports that the Oscar winner was allowed to skip the procedure meant to help detect coronavirus infections.
Kidman, 54, flew into the city in a private jet that took off from Sydney on Aug. 12, according to the Standard newspaper. The “Bombshell” star arrived to shoot the “Expats” for Amazon.com Inc. and was spotted with her bodyguards at multiple locations around town, including at a boutique shop, the report 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, taking into account that it is conducive to maintaining the necessary operation and development of Hong Kong’s economy,” a s said in a statement.
Hong Kong mandates vaccinated residents and non-residents coming from “high-risk” countries to spend as long as 21 days in hotel quarantine upon arrival, besides a host of other requirements. For those from “low-risk” places such as Australia, that is cut short to seven days plus tests followed by self-monitoring. HSBC Holdings Plc Chairman Mark Tucker recently spent three weeks in isolation.
Business groups expressed concern after the government tightened the curbs earlier this week, moving 15 nations to “high-risk” category effective Aug. 20. Australia has now been labeled as “medium-risk.” The business community has struggled for the past 18 months with an economy that’s been starved of big-spending tourists and business travelers. Hong Kong had about 99.9% fewer visitor arrivals in the first half this year than in the same period in 2019.
Some criticized the government’s move on social media.
Kidman isn’t the only person who’s been granted an exemption. The city on a routine basis spares certain categories of people, such as cross-boundary truck drivers, aircraft crew and diplomats, to maintain “necessary operation of Hong Kong’s society and economy,” Sophia Chan, secretary of food and health, said in a written reply to lawmakers on Wednesday.
The actor, who’s also an executive producer of “Expats,” will be staying at a mansion in an upscale neighborhood near Victoria Peak until October, paying a monthly rent of about HK$650,000 ($83,500), other local media reported.
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