Sydney: The Australian government has ordered an immigration investigation against controversial British commentator Katie Hopkins after she was quoted as bragging about breaking quarantine rules at the country’s hotels on social media.
According to Australian media reports, Hopkins flew to Sydney to appear on the reality show Seven Network Ltd Big Brother VIP and then posted a video on Instagram joking about how to open the door naked and without a mask to people delivering food while she was in hotel quarantine.
In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, people must wear a mask before delivering food and then wait 30 seconds to collect food to avoid transmission, according to Australia’s mandatory two-week hotel quarantine rules for overseas travelers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The video was later removed from the image-sharing platform, but Australian lawmakers said they were looking into whether Hopkins’ visa should remain valid.
“It’s despicable that anyone would behave in a way that endangers our health care workers and the community,” Home Secretary Karen Andrews said in a statement.
Andrews added that she ordered Australian Border Troops to “review the facts about this and urgently check if the person meets the requirements of her visa.” A Seven spokesman said in an email that Hopkins was not a Big Brother VIP and that he strongly condemns “her irresponsible and reckless comments in the hotel quarantine.”
Hopkins previously sparked controversy over inflammatory anti-immigrant comments, even receiving criticism from the UN human rights chief, before leaving several UK media outlets in 2017 amid public backlash. Most recently, she used Instagram to question the severity of the pandemic and the scale of the government’s response.
Hopkins did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters asking for comment.
NSW police said in a statement that it is working with immigration authorities to “find out if a 46-year-old woman from the United Kingdom has a visa to enter Australia,” without naming the person.
When asked about the case, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he would have no problem deporting someone violating quarantine laws and reminded viewers of his threat in 2015 to euthanize actor Johnny Depp’s two dogs for a biosecurity violation.
“If you want to do that, pack your bongos and leave the country,” Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.