Hong Kong Waive Quarantine for Nicole Kidman To Film ‘Expat’

Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman is the latest world-famous celebrity to face backlash for being exempted from strict quarantine requirements for travelers.

The American-born Australian woman is under fire and has been heavily criticized online for reportedly arriving in Hong Kong and circumventing strict local Covid-19 policies just before authorities toughened them up for everyone else.

The region has seen some of the strictest rules amid the pandemic, forcing international travelers to spend up to 21 days in quarantine.

Kidman came to Hong Kong with producer Blossom Films to produce “Expat,” a new show about wealthy expats’ lives.

According to the local newspaper The Standard, the actress arrived on a private jet from Australia last week.

However, two days after her arrival, she was spotted visiting some central business districts in Hong Kong and a school related to the project.

Reports of the waiver have sparked harsh criticism against Kidman on Twitter and the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.

Users have asked which department granted the actress “the right to be exempted,” adding that many have not been able to see their relatives for months due to strict restrictions.

Others point out that foreigners have privileges.

Currently, citizens of high-risk countries such as the United Kingdom or Spain are only allowed to enter Hong Kong if they have been fully vaccinated and must still complete three weeks of quarantine.

Kidman flew from Australia, classified as a medium-risk country. But its vaccinated travelers must complete a seven-day isolation period.

The Amazon-backed show has become a source of tension not only because of Kidman’s actions but also due to Hong Kong’s situation.

Locals have criticized the TV show’s focus based on expats’ lives “bubble” as many Hong Kongers face increasing and overwhelming restrictions under a security law that limits speech and political activity.

While Hong Kong has long hosted wealthy foreigners and migrant workers, the Chinese government’s authoritarian turn highlights a gap between what they live and what the locals face.

Hong Kongers have criticized the tone of the two high-profile TV series, saying they focus on a city currently experiencing reduced freedoms and a growing exodus.

There have been no direct official comments on the actress’ exemption reports.

But Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said in a statement that current restrictions are waived “to carry out designated professional work,” referring to the entry requirements for overseas film personnel.