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Rita Ora apologises for second breach of Covid lockdown restrictions

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Pop star Rita Ora has apologised for a second breach of the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions, after failing to self-isolate following a trip to Egypt.

The 30-year-old flew to Egypt for a private performance on 21 November. On her return the following day, she should have isolated for two weeks.

Instead, she threw a birthday party in London, which was itself in violation of lockdown rules.

The star apologised for the party last week, and offered to pay a fine.

Details of her trip to Egypt subsequently emerged in the Mail On Sunday. 

The newspaper said the singer, whose hits include I Will Never Let You Down, Your Song and Let You Love Me, had played an exclusive set at Cairo’s W Hotel for a six-figure sum. 

An unverified source also told the Mail that Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was among those in attendance, although the claim has been disputed.

In response, Ora said she “deserved criticism” for her actions, and would donate her fee from the concert to charity. 

‘Guilt and shame’

In a statement, she 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 for that I apologised earlier this week. I apologise again, unreservedly.”

After reassuring fans she had tested negative for Covid-19, she continued: “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 that some might seek to follow my example. 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. I will take the criticisms coming my way because I deserve them.”

She added that she hoped “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”.

Meanwhile, Kensington and Chelsea Council has denied that Ora paid a £10,000 fine over the party she held in Notting Hill’s Casa Cruz restaurant, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Up to 30 people were at the event, according to reports, although the pop star herself described it as a “small gathering”.

Some press outlets claimed she had handed over a five-figure sum, but on Friday 4 December, a council spokesperson said no such fine had been paid.

They added that the council was investigating the premises for a potential breach of licensing and Covid regulations, and that it was not in their power to investigate an individual.