Rita Ora was pictured emerging on her luxury hotel balcony in Sydney on Friday, as she counts down the final days of her mandatory 14-day quarantine since touching down in Australia.
The singer had been permitted to leave the UK during lockdown at the start of the month, flying to the city for work commitments after signing up as a coach on the Australian version of hit singing competition The Voice.
Her work trip comes after she was branded ‘selfish’ by British police for holding a lockdown-flouting 30th birthday bash at west London restaurant Casa Cruz at the end of November.
In quarantine: Rita Ora was pictured emerging on her luxury hotel balcony in Sydney on Friday, as she counts down the final days of her mandatory 14-day quarantine since touching down in Australia
Hot Right Now hitmaker was seen soaking up the sunshine from the confines of her large balcony, smoking a cigarette while also having a spirited conversation on the phone.
She is isolating in her suite with her sister Elena, who donned a black tank top with shorts as she laid out on the floor of the balcony to soak in the balmy winter weather.
The musician looked casually cool for her day of continued isolation, donning a grey and purple top with brown shorts, while an array of glittering gold jewellery added a glam touch to her look.
According to current rules listed on New South Wales’ official
Cigarette break: The singer, 30, was seen puffing on a cigarette as she stuck her head out of her luxury suite’s balcony door
Sister, Sister: The singer is isolating in her suite with her sister Elena, who donned a black tank top and shorts as she relaxed
Working tip: The singer had been permitted to leave the UK during lockdown at the start of the month, flying to the city for work commitments after signing up as a coach on the Australian version of hit singing competition The Voice
A statement reads: ‘Under public health orders, people who arrive in Sydney from overseas or by vessel from another port outside of NSW must enter into quarantine in a designated accommodation facility for 14 days.’
Travellers are also subject to a quarantine fee of AU$4,000 for one adult, with AU$1,000 charged for each additional adult isolating with them. Children under 18 are charged AU$500, while those under three are free.
However, Rita was greeted with fierce backlash on her arrival in Australia, amid claims she was given special treatment to allow her into the country.
Australia’s shadow home affairs spokeswoman, Kristina Keneally, said Rita’s hotel spot meant her quarantine was at the expense of Australians desperately seeking to return home.
Australia’s strict COVID-19 laws only allow 4,250 international arrivals a week, which has meant around 37,000 Australian nationals are ‘stranded’ abroad unable to see their families.
Birthday bash: Her work trip comes after she was branded ‘selfish’ by British police for holding a lockdown-flouting 30th birthday bash at west London restaurant Casa Cruz at the end of November
Limited space: Hot Right Now hitmaker was seen soaking up the sunshine from the confines of her large balcony, smoking a cigarette while also having a spirited conversation on the phone
It’s a family affair: Rita’s younger sister Elena works as a member of the singer, actress and TV personality’s management team
Labor MP Kristina Keneally complained that the singer was being given preferential treatment, saying: ‘It’s another example of Prime Minister Scott Morrison leaving Australians behind.’
‘There are still 40,000 Australians stranded overseas. Every celebrity who takes up a place in quarantine is a place denied to a stranded Australian,’ she also told The Guardian.
Reports of celebrities, including Matt Damon and Miranda Kerr, being granted permission to isolate in self-organised private residences to avoid Australia’s strict hotel quarantine regime have sparked backlash in Australia.
However, Rita, who reportedly travelled with an entourage, did not organise to isolate in a private residence, meaning her quarantine will count towards Australia’s strict cap on international arrivals.
Ensuring that visitors touching down at Sydney airport adhere to the country’s strict rules, the Australian army and police service were on hand to greet Rita when she landed in the country, and helped with her luggage.
Golden girl: Sticking to her signature style, even while in quarantine, the Kosovo-born star sported glittering gold jewellery
Casual: The musician looked casually cool for her day of continued isolation, donning a grey and purple top with brown shorts
Chilling out: Her sister Elena relaxed on the floor of the balcony as she entered the latter stages of their quarantine together
There was no missing the star, who stood out in a pair of neon orange trousers, but she concealed her face with a balaclava style face mask and wrapped up in a camel coat. She was accompanied by her sister Elena, who works as part of the singer’s team.
Although reportedly getting to enjoy the luxury of first class travel for the long flight, once she landed in Australia Rita was marched from the airport to a minibus and then shut into her hotel room to quarantine.
Explaining that there was no way for the star to get out of quarantining on arrival, a source told
‘They have no time for rule-breakers. Border agents and the military are involved — and she had to comply.’
Reflecting on the recent furore the Hot Right Now singer sparked back in the UK, the source added: ‘She certainly doesn’t want any more trouble over the rules. She learnt her lesson.’
Following the rules: According to current rules listed on New South Wales’ official government site , quarantine is mandatory for all individuals landing in the state from abroad, with the exception of New Zealand
Fierce backlash: However, Rita was greeted with fierce backlash on her arrival in Australia, amid claims she was given special treatment to allow her into the country
She is believed to be staying at the five star Meriton Suites Pitt Street hotel, which is one of Sydney’s tallest hotels and has a choice of Studio Suites 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites and indulgent Penthouse Collection Suites.
The Meriton Suites Pitt Street hotel has a ranking of #25 out of the 204 Hotels in Sydney according to TripAdvisor.
The stunning penthouse suite at the luxury accommodation is sleek and stylish and furnished in neutral tones, featuring an open plan living area with floor to ceiling windows to make the most of the views.
The living room, which is flooded with light, includes a selection of comfy oatmeal sofas and a marble coffee table, leading out onto a modern balcony area.
The minimalist theme continues in the apartment’s bedrooms, one of which featured a huge king-sized bed with a cushioned blue headboard and fitted wardrobes for Rita’s extensive clothing collection.
Limited spaces: Australia’s shadow home affairs spokeswoman, Kristina Keneally, said Rita’s hotel spot meant her quarantine was at the expense of Australians desperately seeking to return home
Strict regulations: Australia’s strict COVID-19 laws only allow 4,250 international arrivals a week, which has meant around 37,000 Australian nationals are ‘stranded’ abroad unable to see their families
While many hotel quarantine packages include food deliveries to the room, Rita’s room may also include a modern wooden kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
Whenever Rita feels like eating there is a six-seater dining area around a white marble table with turquoise velvet dining chairs, while there is also an option to dine on the terrace.
The accommodation also boasts a gym and pool area, however it is likely that Rita will be confined to her suite. While the penthouse pictured costs $500 a night, there are less premium rooms available from $137 per night.
Testing takes place on day two and 10 of the isolation period, with a negative test allowing people to leave on day 14. While 14 days is the standard amount of time in isolation, if anyone refuses to comply they could be held for up to 24 days.
Amid the scandal of her rule-breaking birthday bash, Rita is also said to be struggling in her relationship with boyfriend Romain Gavras. It’s reported that the couple are ‘under strain’ following Rita’s controversial slew of lockdown rule breaks.
Adding to this, as Rita then appeared to be following the rules – it kept her apart from Romain, 39, due to travel restrictions and lockdown. She will now be apart from her love even longer as a result of her work in Australia.
While a source told MailOnline that ‘Romain has been really supportive of Rita over the last few months’, another told The Sun: ‘They are struggling being apart from each other.
‘It’s difficult not knowing when restrictions will ease. It feels as if they are on the rocks!’
Reports of relationship woes came as the singer’s lockdown-flouting 30th birthday bash in November came back to haunt her once more, as she was branded ‘selfish’ by police.
The party came amid another rule break, as she has previously flown by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel.
She returned the next day and under government quarantine rules should have self-isolated for 14 days. Instead, she threw a birthday party on November 28 at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill.
The infamous birthday party at Casa Cruz saw Rita branded ‘selfish’, the manager of the restaurant sacked and the venue facing losing its licence.
A hearing of Kensington and Chelsea Council’s licensing sub-committee on Thursday heard how representatives for the singer offered the since-sacked manager £5,000 for the illegal opening – and the Notting Hill venue now faces losing its licence.
Charles Holland, who is representing the Met Police’s application, said at the hearing, held online due to COVID-19 restrictions, that Rita ‘selfishly wanted to flout the lockdown for financial gain and selfish pleasure’.
He said at the hearing: ‘Police were advised that a party was being held on November 28 at the venue, Casa Cruz.
‘They were told large groups of people had arrived via the back door of the club, there was security and loud music was being played and this was all during the second national lockdown.
‘At the time venues had to close and stop providing food and drink,people were told to stay at home and it was unlawful to gather in groups of two or more.
‘What transpired was that the premises was hosting a party for a Ms Rita Ora, a well known celebrity.
‘The then manager at the time Scotti Bhattarai had been contacted and offered £5,000 for the use of the premises, he agreed and has admitted he was being greedy.’
With most of the venue’s staff on furlough during a time that the country was locked in a second lockdown, he travelled to the venue himself to ‘facilitate’ the bash – an action for which he has since admitted he was ‘greedy’.
It has been claimed that security for the entourage wanted ‘no recordings of the attendees’ with CCTV said to be turned off at between 6pm and 6:30pm at the upscale London eatery on 28 November.
Police found that the CCTV hard drive had been reformatted on the 30 November at 3:15pm, two days after the party, with ‘no stored footage available’ before or the preceding 31 days.
In a statement to police on 1 December, publicly available in a licence review for Casa Cruz, former boss Scottie Bhattarai also claimed that Rita’s team allegedly offered £5,000 to use the venue.
Australia’s quarantine system and how a sex scandal prompted a second wave
Entry to Australia is closed except to citizens and those with an exemption – with all travellers required to quarantine for 14 days.
The quarantine takes place at a designated facility, such as a hotel.
Accommodation is pre-arranged and not up to travellers to book.
In some parts of the country, travellers are expected to pay toward the cost of their stay.
Testing takes place on day two and 10 of the isolation period, with a negative test allowing people to leave on day 14.
While 14 days is the standard amount of time in isolation, people who refuse to comply can be held for up to 24 days.
Last summer a second-wave of COVID in Melbourne was revealed to be caused by security guards at one of the designated facilities sleeping with quarantined guests and taking them to nearby shops.
Premier of the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, told the Herald Sun in July that there had been a ‘handful’ of breaches by staff at hotels including Stamford Plaza and Rydges on Swanston hotel, also in Melbourne, where isolated travellers were staying.
The scandal plunged Melbourne back into lockdown after 31 cases of Covid were linked to the Stamford Plaza.
The document claims: ‘The security for the entourage wanted no recordings of the attendees – Rita Ora etc, to be made, hence the DPS decided to turn off the CCTV in the premises at between 1800 & 1830.
‘He also stated that CCTV was faulty prior and scheduled for repair.’
In the report, police found that the CCTV hard drive had been reformatted on the 30 November at 3:15pm with ‘no stored footage available before that time, or the preceding 31 days.’
Mr Bhattarai also claimed that he was contacted by representatives of Ora on Saturday 28 November at 5:30pm in ‘relation to holding an event inside the premises for “drinks and nibbles”‘ where they allegedly offered £5,000 to use the venue.
He said that due to staff being furloughed, he ‘attended the restaurant to facilitate the event’, admitting that he was ‘greedy’.
Mr Bhattarai added that the group attended the venue at 7pm with a planned 7-8 guests, however, by around 9pm, there were about 17 people, who brought their own alcohol to the restaurant, including bottles of Ora’s tequila brand.
He added that guests who attended the bash were supermodel Cara Delevingne and her actress sister Poppy. They were also both pictured at the event.
The document adds: ‘Mr Bhattarai was aware of the breach in COVID laws, taking full responsibility for facilitating this event without the knowledge of the licensee.’
Mr Bhattarai also stated that at the the time no payment had been taken, he was unwilling to pass on the organiser’s details.
Also in the document, police said that they arrived at the scene at 11:32pm after receiving allegations of a breach of Covid regulations.
Officers were unable to get a ‘clear view’ through windows, which were blacked out, but were able to spot through gaps mask-free attendees and glasses.
Police say that they knocked on windows and doors but got no response although music is said to have stopped.
Rita was caught twice flouting lockdown rules in November. The Mail On Sunday revealed that prior to her birthday bash, the singer flew by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel.
She returned the next day and under Government quarantine rules should have self-isolated for 14 days.
Instead of this, she threw a birthday party on November 28 at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill, West London.
For this she apologised with the following statement: ‘Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.
‘It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK… I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.
‘This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.
‘I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.’
Luxury living! Rita is believed to be spending her two-week isolation period at the the five star Meriton Suites Pitt Street hotel, where the penthouse suite costs $500 (£279) per night – meaning her stay could set her back up to $7,000
Busy in the kitchen! While many hotel quarantine packages include food deliveries to the room, Rita’s room may also include a modern wooden kitchen with stainless steel appliances
She paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching these protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which, to any passers-by, looked to be closed up.
She was also forced into another grovelling apology for breaching strict coronavirus rules by flying to Cairo and not isolating on return.
Rita said: ‘I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative Covid tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities.
‘Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed Government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn’t follow Government advice and… I apologise again, unreservedly.
‘While I realise the apologetic words of a pop star might not carry much weight, especially one who has broken the rules like I have, I do realise some might seek to follow my example.
Dining experience: Whenever Rita feels like eating there is a six-seater dining area around a white marble table with turquoise velvet dining chairs, while there is also an option to dine on the terrace
Just keep swimming: The accomodation also boasts a gym and pool area, however it is likely that Rita will be confined to her suite
‘My message to them is simple: please don’t. The guilt and shame I’ve carried this week for my mistake aren’t worth it. Instead, continue to listen to the Government advice and the voices of the heroes of the NHS and take the required precautions.’
She added: ‘I hope to one day make it up to the public who have given me so much support over the years and, in particular, make it up to the heroes of the NHS…
‘In the meantime, I will be donating my fee from Egypt to charity. Be better than I have been and learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way yourselves.’
A spokesman for the star, estimated to be worth £10 million, said she and her team had all subsequently tested negative for coronavirus.
The apology did not go down well with stars such as Piers Morgan and Lorraine Kelly, who mocked her rule breaking antics on Good Morning Britain.
Breathtaking views: The living room, which is flooded with light, includes a selection of comfy oatmeal sofas and a marble coffee table, leading out onto a modern balcony area
Costly: While the penthouse pictured costs $500 a night, there are less premium rooms available from $137 per night
Wishing Lorraine a happy birthday, co-host Susanna Reid said: ‘It’s a shame we can’t come give you a hug and a kiss, although you’re probably glad you can’t get one from Piers. Are you having a small get together?’
‘Yeah, it’s just what everyone is doing apart from Rita Ora,’ Lorraine replied.
Evidently appalled by Rita’s decision to host a party for people outside her immediate social bubble, Piers carped: ‘These celebs, I’ll do what I want and no one else matters, I don’t get it… what’s the restaurant doing allowing all those people in?’
Lorraine, who admitted she will celebrate her special day at home with husband Steve Smith, added: ‘I could have 61 people for 61? That would be quite nice when it’s all over.’
Police were called to Rita’s party in November and the Met Police gave a statement to MailOnline at the time.
They said: ‘Police were called at 21:10hrs on Saturday, 28 November to reports of a potential breach of Covid regulations at a commercial premises in Clarendon Road, W11.
I’m sorry: Rita was caught twice flouting lockdown rules in November. Rita offered an apology on social media and said she felt ‘particularly embarrassed’ after her party was revealed
‘Officers attended and carried out enquiries at the scene. They found no record of any offence being committed.’
Rita has not commented publicly on the new details that have been reported surrounding her birthday, but has courted the press with interviews about her new film, Twist, which has been universally panned by critics.
Rita will now have two weeks in isolation ahead of her role on The Voice Australia.
Although Rita is expected to follow Australia’s hotel quarantine rules, Hollywood stars, Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, were said to have been exempt, and instead spent the mandatory 14 days isolation in rented properties.
7News reported in September that Hanks, 64, who has been in Australia filming Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, and film crew were allowed to isolate in a luxury resort at Broadbeach.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also confirmed Hanks was exempt from quarantine under the film industry’s COVID-safe plan.
Guests: Mr Bhattarai added that the group attended the venue at 7pm with a planned 7-8 guests, however, by around 9pm, there were about 17 people, who brought their own alcohol to the restaurant, including bottles of Ora’s tequila brand (Rita pictured on her birthday)
While Damon’s, 50, immigration lawyer explained earlier this month that the actor had ‘privately arranged and funded’ his two-week isolation with his wife and children so as not to create ‘any burden to the Australian taxpayer whatsoever’.
The star, who is preparing to film Thor: Love and Thunder, is said to have initially quarantined for two weeks in a ski lodge in America, where he was tested for Covid-19 every three days.
Damon and his family then jetted to Australia in a private jet and moved into a rented house, where they are paying for their own private security, police monitoring, hospital-grade cleaning, staff, meals and regular medical checks.
Recently, a hoard of tennis players jetted to Australia and were in isolation ahead of the Australian Open, which kicked off in Melbourne on February 8.
More than 1,000 players, coaches and officials were holed up for 14 days of isolation after jetting into the largely coronavirus-free country, with most allowed out for five hours of daily supervised training.
Exempt: Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, were said to have been exempt from Australia’s hotel quarantine and instead spent the mandatory 14 days isolation in rented properties (Hanks pictured in February, left, and Damon pictured in 2019, right)
But 72 players were confined to their hotel rooms 24/7 after virus cases emerged on their flights over, forcing them to improvise training methods indoors – leading to a mini-rebellion spearheaded by Novak Djokovic which attracted little sympathy from Australians.
Djokovic was among a select group including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal who served their time in Adelaide rather than Melbourne ahead of exhibition matches in South Australia.
Seven-time Australian Open winner Serena, who needs one more Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24, spent her two weeks indoors with her three-year-old daughter Olympia.
‘I’m so glad the quarantine is over because to be in a room with a three-year-old and being her best friend is definitely difficult, especially after training and working out and then it’s like, oh my gosh, it never ends,’ she said.
Aggressive restrictions on incoming travel have helped keep the coronavirus at bay in Australia, making it one of the few countries that is still able to have fans at sports events.
With thousands of Australians stranded abroad, the players’ arrival prompted some disquiet among the public, especially when some complained about their quarantine.
Some players claimed they had never been told that the two-week confinement was a possibility, while others complained about the food at their hotels.
Djokovic’s reported list of demands for the 72 confined players included a shorter quarantine period, permission for players to visit their coaches, and access to courts where they could train for the tournament.
But state premier Daniel Andrews said authorities would not bend the rules, telling the players that ‘there’s no special treatment here… because the virus doesn’t treat you specially, so neither do we.’
While Djokovic has been able to train in Adelaide, the 72 players confined in Melbourne were stuck in their hotel rooms 24 hours a day, after eight positive COVID-19 cases were detected on their charter flights to Australia.
Melbourne suffered a major resurgence of the virus during the Australian winter, but has since beaten it back, and Australia now sees only a handful of local cases a day.
Praise: Recently, a hoard of tennis players jetted to Australia and were in isolation ahead of the Australian Open, which kicked off in Melbourne on February 8 with tennis great Serena Williams praising the strict quarantine system
Quarantine: More than 1,000 players, coaches and officials were holed up for 14 days of isolation after jetting into the largely coronavirus-free country with Rafael Nadal(L) and Novak Djokovic among a select group who served their time in Adelaide
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