Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Cook Islands ease travel restrictions


Passengers are heading to the Cook Islands after the travel bubble reopens. Photo/RNZ

By RNZ’s Eleisha Foon

Regulations in the Cook Islands are easing, with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown today announcing major changes to travel to the country.

The changes are in response to New Zealand’s adjustments to Omicron’s growing infection rate.

Rapid antigen tests will now be used instead of PCR tests for travelers from New Zealand to the Cook Islands.

A negative Covid-19 test under supervision will now be required to enter the Cook Islands, passed 24 hours before departure.

Importantly, the RAT will need to be “done under supervision to be valid,” Brown said.

The Te Marae Ora website offers a list of places and pharmacies where this can be done quickly and at a significantly reduced cost.

By next week, unvaccinated Cook Islanders and permanent residents will be able to enter the Cook Islands and the MIQ will no longer be required.

“It is now much clearer that unvaccinated people pose a greater risk to themselves rather than to others when infected with Covid.”

He said “the MIQ is now redundant” and it is now about slowing the impacts on vulnerable people.

If you are in New Zealand or have just arrived in New Zealand, you will be able to travel to the Cook Islands without needing 10 days to stop in New Zealand.

“It will make it easier for our Australian people, in particular, to visit home,” he said.

From midnight tonight, and in line with New Zealand, the isolation and quarantine period for people who test positive for Covid-19 and their close contacts will be reduced from 10 days to seven days.

Meanwhile, restrictions on indoor and outdoor events and social gatherings, contact sports and travel at Pa Enua have been extended until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 17.



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