Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, China Note, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about China. Subscribe to receive it by email every Wednesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.
A quarantine waiver granted by authorities in Hong Kong to Hollywood star Nicole Kidman has drawn outrage and charges of double standards by local residents. But a bigger problem underlies the saga: The city is caught between two different COVID-19 strategies, with no way out.
Kidman, who arrived in Hong Kong on a private jet last week to film her new series, “Expats,” sparked outrage after she was allowed to sidestep some of the world’s strictest coronavirus measures, which mandate up to 21 days of quarantine even for fully vaccinated residents and travelers entering the city and has recently left travelers scrambling for hotel rooms where they can spend the isolation period. In a statement released Thursday, city authorities explained that the exemption for Kidman and her crew was granted for the purpose of “performing designated professional work” that is necessary to the city’s economy.