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HK defends decision to exempt Nicole Kidman from quarantine

19 August 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Kidman arrives for a film shooting in Sai Wan (Internet photo)

The Hong Kong government has issued a statement defending its decision to exempt Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman from quarantine so she could appear in a movie being shot locally.

In a statement issued earlier today, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said Kidman has been given the 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.”


Kidman reportedly flew into Hong Kong from Sydney on Thursday night aboard a private jet to film the Amazon series, “Expats”.

Two days later she was spotted arriving in Central in a black private car accompanied by bodyguards. She went shopping at COS boutique on Queen’s Road, then reportedly returned to her temporary residence on the Peak.

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She was later photographed filming scenes in Sai Wan and at Peak School.

News of her being allowed to skip quarantine prompted many people, including a health expert, to accuse the government of giving her unfair treatment, especially since it has just tightened boarding and quarantine requirements for all new arrivals in the city.


Government adviser David Hui said it was ill-advised to exempt Kidman from quarantine, especially since she had come from Sydney, where there has been a surge in infections because of the Delta variant.

But according to the government statement, all bureaus or departments may request for such exemption from the Chief Secretary for Administration, taking into account the advice of health authorities and the prevailing public health situation.

Film shooting at Peak School: The govt says Kidman has been complying with regulations

It added that anyone given this exemption must still comply with anti-pandemic restrictions such as vaccinations prior to arrival, a designated place of stay, testing and securing negative Covid-19 and at intervals in line with the prevailing requirements, pre-determined work-related itineraries (e.g. filming, costume fitting, rehearsals and business meetings), point-to-point transportation and prohibition of using public transport, etc. 


The Bureau also said that in addition to these restrictions, it will carry out checks and verifications to ensure compliance by the exempted person.

“No breach of the exemption conditions by the personnel concerned has been identified so far,” said the statement.


Meanwhile, five new imported cases including a seafarer and a baby were reported today, and all of them were found to carry the L452R mutant strain. All except the 9-month-old baby boy were fully vaccinated.

The first patient is a 56-year-old woman who arrived from Pakistan with symptoms and tested positive on arrival test. She received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong on Mar 21 and Apr 11.

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Next is a 54-year-old man who arrived on Aug 15 from Germany and tested positive after developing symptoms on his third day in quarantine at Sheraton hotel in Tung Chung.

He received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong on Apr 22 and May 13.

Third is the 21-year-old male seafarer from Malaysia who was found infected on his arrival test two days after getting his second BioNTech jab in Malaysia. His first dose was given on Jul 25. He is asymptomatic.

Fourth is a 23-year-old woman from Turkey who is asymptomatic and had two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine in Indonesia, on Jun 29 and Jul 20.

The baby arrived from Bangladesh on Aug 9 and developed symptoms of Covid-19 six days later while in quarantine at Silka Far East Hotel in Tsuen Wan. His specimen sample tested positive yesterday.

The Centre for Health Protection said that the five new cases took the total tally for Covid-19 in Hong Kong to 12,047.


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