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The Australian actress, 54, arrived in Hong Kong to film a new TV series and seen out and about two days after touching down.
Following reports she did not have to isolate upon arrival, a government statement said it had granted an exemption for an “overseas film” individual to perform “designated professional work”.
This is despite the former British colony having some of the strictest rules in place with up to 21 days’ quarantine required.
Kidman is filming The Expats, an Amazon Prime show about the lives of the wealthy and glamorous.
Reports of the waiver have only stoked outrage further, with comments on both Twitter and Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo overwhelmingly critical.
Several people pointed out they have not been able to see family for months thanks to the restrictions.
Citizens living in “high risk” countries - a list which already includes the UK and is expanding to places like the US and Spain tomorrow - are only allowed to enter if vaccinated and must still complete three weeks’ quarantine.
Australia - where Kidman flew in from - is classified “medium”, which has a minimum seven-day quarantine requirement for those who are vaccinated.
A Twitter user called @WhovianBooknerd wrote: “So we have HK residents who can’t come back if not vaccinated (and even then with 2-3 weeks quarantine) but Nicole Kidman can just enter like this? It’s disgusting!”
Another said: “Why do foreigners have privileges?”
Elizabeth Quat, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, said she had received “a number of complaints” and has asked health officials to explain themselves, according to AFP news agency.
The issue of film stars travelling internationally has also caused problems in Kidman’s homeland.
The arrival in Australia of a host of famous faces in the last 18 months has angered those struggling to get home.
Last year, Kidman and her singer husband Keith Urban were reportedly allowed to quarantine at their own residence in Australia, bypassing the mandatory hotel system for other arrivals at their own cost.