Australia investigates Briton Katie Hopkins over quarantine video

Newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins arrives in a wedding dress to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Britain on October 2, 2017. REUTERS / Phil Noble

SYDNEY, July 18 (Reuters) – The Australian government has ordered an immigration probe against controversial British commentator Katie Hopkins after she was cited as bragging about breaking the country’s hotel quarantine rules on social media.

Hopkins flew to Sydney to appear on the Seven Network Ltd (SWM.AX) reality show Big Brother VIP, according to Australian media, then posted a video on Instagram joking about responding to the wears naked and unmasked to people delivering meals while she was in hotel quarantine.

Under Australia’s mandatory two-week hotel quarantine rules for international arrivals to stop the spread of COVID-19, people must put on a mask before meals are delivered, then wait 30 seconds to collect the food in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. to avoid transmission.

The video was later removed from the image-sharing platform, but Australian lawmakers said they were investigating whether Hopkins’ visa should remain valid.

“It is despicable that anyone behaves in a way that puts our health officials and our community at risk,” Home Secretary Karen Andrews said in a statement.

Andrews added that she had ordered the Australian Border Force to “examine the facts of this case and urgently verify that this person is meeting their visa requirements.”

A spokesperson for Seven said in an email that Hopkins was not a Big Brother VIP and strongly condemned “his irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine.”

Hopkins has previously courted controversy over inflammatory anti-immigrant comments, even gaining criticism from the UN human rights chief, before leaving several British media outlets in 2017 amid public backlash. She most recently used Instagram to question the severity of the pandemic and the scale of the government’s responses.[D-REUTERSNEWS-T003/I81b2d040ea8f11e4b762cbb02043125a]

Hopkins did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters requesting comment.

New South Wales State Police said in a statement they were working with immigration authorities “to determine whether the Australian entry visa issued to a 46-year-old woman from the UK Uni remains valid “, without naming the person.

When asked about the case, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he would have no problem deporting someone who flouted quarantine laws and reminded viewers of his 2015 threat to euthanize the two dogs of actor Johnny Depp for biosecurity violations. [D-REUTERSNEWS-T003/I5c1d6fd0f9d911e4a6dff105e13b5f11]

“If you want to do that, pack your bongo and get out of the country,” Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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