HONG KONG (AFP) – The Hong Kong government’s exemption from quarantine for Nicole Kidman has drawn criticism from lawmakers as the city tightens entry restrictions on international travelers to control the coronavirus.
Kidman, who was reported to have arrived in Hong Kong last week from Sydney, the virus-hit city, has been exempted from a week-long quarantine and was seen in the city this week filming a new Amazon Prime video series called Expatriate. Journalism.
The government said in a statement Thursday that it had granted the exemption “for the purpose of carrying out a specific professional work”.
The work, he said, “helps maintain the necessary performance and development of Hong Kong’s economy.”
Some lawmakers in Hong Kong criticized the decision.
“Nicole Kidman’s waiver case isn’t just about politics, it’s about health security and it’s a matter of injustice,” said legislator Priscilla Leung.
Leung said she herself was not exempt from quarantine when a member of her family contracted the coronavirus.
Legislator Michael Tian said Kidman’s exoneration sets a precedent for other celebrities in the future.
“(Even) athletes who returned from the Tokyo Olympics had to self-quarantine for seven days,” he said.
Kidman’s exemption comes as the Hong Kong government has tightened entry requirements for travelers, adding 15 countries, including the United States, to a high-risk category and requiring immune travelers from medium-risk countries to spend 14 days in quarantine starting Friday.
Previously, the city allowed travelers from medium-risk countries to stay only seven days in quarantine in designated hotels if they were fully vaccinated and tested positive for antibodies.
Authorities say Kidman is obligated to abide by virus rules in Hong Kong, must provide an itinerary and travel in a private vehicle to avoid contact with the public.
“This exemption does not mean that you can go where you want,” said Edward Yao, Hong Kong’s minister for trade and economic development, on Friday.
The reactions of the population were mixed.
“I think the quarantine period cannot be shortened, because we all know that she can still test positive even after 14 days of quarantine, and even if she has been vaccinated,” said Som Yip, a nursing student. “If the government shortens the quarantine period, it cannot protect people.”
But David Pitfield, a professor from the United Kingdom, said he wouldn’t mind relieving Kidman because the actress had been vaccinated and that her series would bring “good publicity” to Hong Kong.
He said filming the series in Hong Kong would also create job opportunities in the city.
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