Cook Islands may shorten quarantine time for tourists

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Cook Islands Ministry of Health, Te Marae Ora, are planning to keep their paradise islands Covid-19 free. 

Yesterday a Covid-19 amendment bill was passed to ensure tourists and local residents alike undergo supervised quarantine and test negative before entering the country. 

Acting Secretary of Health Dr Tereapii Uka says travel to the Cook Islands will not  be the same.

“We are considering that tourists who want to come to the Cook Islands are tested in New Zealand just prior to their travel, but the quarantine period will probably be reduced to one to three days,” Dr Uka says.

Dr Tereapii Uka.  Photo/File

Those are some of the ideas to be discussed by Te Marae Ora to protect the health of their people.

“We will be looking at the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand, we will assess and review. We will either do those tests on the tourists to minimise the quarantine time for tourists when they return.”

The Cook Islands closed its borders on the 25 March due to Covid-19. 

Next week, they will be re-open on 8th May (CIT) to allow the first repatriation cohort of two to return.

The bill passed in a special sitting means the returning residents must undergo a specified period of 14 days supervised quarantine and medical clearance before boarding the plane.

“At the moment, our ICU is not up to capacity to provide intensive medical care so our contingency plan is to evacuate any Covid-19 cases that arise to New Zealand as we currently do with anyone needing intensive medical care.“

On arrival, the cohort will undergo a further 14 days of supervised quarantine at Edgewater Resort and obtain a medical clearance before being allowed to join their families in their homes.