CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Right-wing British commentator Katie Hopkins will be deported from Australia after bragging on social media that she planned to break the country’s quarantine rules, an official said on Monday.
Hopkins traveled to Australia to appear on a reality TV show and was in mandatory quarantine at a 14-day Sydney hotel before filming began.
His flight to Australia sparked outrage after the government halved the number of Australian citizens and permanent residents allowed to return home each week to 3,000 each week to try to reduce the risk of COVID leaks -19 of the hotels quarantine. More than 34,000 Australians who wish to return home remain stranded abroad.
Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are on lockdown to contain a coronavirus outbreak caused by the most contagious delta variant.
Home Secretary Karen Andrews said Hopkins would be deported after touting on Instagram his intention to flout quarantine rules.
“It’s appalling that this person behaved the way they did and they’re going to leave,” Andrews told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“We’ll get her out of the country as soon as we can sort this out,” Andrews added.
Hopkins, who also gained notoriety for his anti-Muslim comments, described the pandemic lockdowns as the “biggest hoax in human history.”
In an Instagram video deleted from her hotel room, she said she plans to scare staff who bring meals to her door by confronting them naked and without masks.
People in quarantine are not allowed to open their hotel room doors until 30 seconds after their meals have been delivered and must wear masks while their doors are open.
Andrews called Hopkins’ comments shameful.
“The fact that she bragged about violating quarantine was just appalling,” Andrews said. “It was a slap in the face for all those Australians who are currently on lockdown and it is simply unacceptable behavior.”
Seven Network and Endemol Shine Australia, the production company behind the “Big Brother VIP” program in which Hopkins was scheduled to appear, announced on Sunday that his contract had been canceled.
“Seven and Endemol Shine strongly condemn his irresponsible and reckless comments in hotel quarantine,” the companies said in a joint statement.