- More than 30,000 Australians are stuck overseas due to the country’s COVID-19 rules.
- But Caitlyn Jenner and other celebrities have been allowed to visit for film and TV production.
- British far-right commentator Katie Hopkins is being deported after she bragged about flouting COVID-19 rules.
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California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner flew to Australia last week as COVID-19 lockdown measures have left citizens of the country stranded overseas and unable to return home.
As part of measures to control the pandemic, Australia instituted a limit on the number of incoming flight passengers it receives each week. The cap was slashed in half on July 14 as the Delta variant is contributing to a new surge in cases in the country. Now, about 3,000 passengers are allowed to enter the country each week.
The decreased cap, set to be in place at least until August 31, was bad news for the more than 30,000 citizens who have registered with the government as stuck abroad and wanting to come home. Those who are able to return are required to quarantine for 14 days in designated locations.
Most foreigners have not been allowed in at all. And yet Jenner said Friday she was “honoring a work commitment” in traveling to Australia, where she is reportedly filming the TV show “Big Brother.” Despite leaving California two months before a recall election, the Republican said she’s still vying to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Some figures in Australian media have blasted the news of her arrival.
“This is ridiculous,” Sky News host Paul Murray said Sunday. “There are literally flights that are returning with zero people on them because of travel caps, but she can fly into the country.”
Katie Hopkins, a British far-right commentator, was also allowed into Australia to appear on “Big Brother.” She sparked outrage after posting an Instagram live of herself on Saturday from a hotel room in Sydney where she was quarantining.
In the video, which has since been removed, Hopkins criticized Australia’s COVID-19 rules and bragged about flouting them, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. She called the lockdown a “hoax” and said she was waiting for workers to deliver food to her room so she could “spring it open and frighten the s— out of them and do it naked with no face mask.”
Following backlash, Hopkins was axed from the show, prompting her visa to be canceled overnight. She will now be deported.
“I thought it was just shameful, the fact that she was out there boasting about breaching quarantine was just appalling,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told ABC. “It was a slap in the face for all those Australians who are currently in lockdown and it’s just unacceptable behavior.”
Despite the flight caps, celebrities have been allowed to enter Australia throughout the pandemic, as film and TV production continued due to the country’s relatively low rates of COVID-19. Others who have been allowed in the country since the border closed include Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, and Rita Ora, among others, as listed by ABC.