Actor Mark Lee declines invitation to be judge at Taipei Film Festival due to Covid-19 pandemic

The invitation is considered an honour for Singaporean artistes and Mark Lee said he agreed to it immediately. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Local actor Mark Lee has turned down a rare opportunity to be a judge at the Taipei Film Festival because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was invited after he was nominated for Best Leading Actor for his role as a drag queen in the film Number 1 at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards last November, Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News reported.

The invitation is considered an honour for Singaporean artistes and Lee, 52, said he agreed to it immediately. He was planning to fly to Taiwan on June 17, pending confirmation of his flight and accommodation.

The Taipei Film Festival 2021 will be held from June 24 to July 10.

However, with Covid-19 cases going up in both Singapore and Taiwan, he made the painful decision to turn down the invitation.

"I have to be quarantined for several days after flying to Taipei and then spend seven days watching the movies," Lee told Shin Min.

"I have to be quarantined again after returning to Singapore, and it would affect the filming of (the movie) Reunion Dinner and other jobs."

Lee said he felt that it was a pity to turn down the invitation and hoped there would be another opportunity in future.

Taiwan, which has had relatively few Covid-19 cases previously, has grappled with a rise in cases in recent days.

On Monday (May 17), the island reported 335 new cases - all domestic infections, except for two imported cases. The figure broke its daily record of local cases for the fourth consecutive day.

Taiwan also announced on Monday that it will bar entry to non-residents for a month starting from Wednesday.

More than 10 variety shows in Taiwan have suspended filming because of the outbreak, including those by famous hosts Jacky Wu and Hsu Nai-lin.

Some TV stations have continued filming their drama serials in studios, but with strict social distancing measures. For example, Formosa Television has requested that crew members wear face masks at all times, with actors allowed to remove their marks only while acting.

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