Cook Islands COVID-19 Safe Framework – Added Measure

23 January 2022 (CKT)

Following the announcement in New Zealand yesterday that there is community transmission of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Cook Islands Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Mark Brown met today to consider additional public health measures.

Cabinet has approved to retain the existing International Quarantine Free Travel border settings with New Zealand.

Cabinet also approved the following additional measures and may consider other measures in the coming days. Unless otherwise specified, it is intended that they will all take effect from Wednesday 26 January 2022 (CKT).

  • No unvaccinated people will be allowed entry into the Cook Islands for the next month. Cook Islands Residents or Work Permit Holders who are parents/caregivers of children under 5 years may apply for an exemption for their child/children. The Cook Islands Travel Advisory will be updated.
  • Mandatory mask wearing in all public indoor settings e.g., retail, workplaces, Church
  • All schools (primary and secondary) and Early Childhood Centres to close to students for 2 weeks (or an additional 2 weeks if already closed), resuming Monday 7 February. This will allow time for families with 5–11-year-olds the opportunity to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine which is expected in-country soon.
  • RAT testing required for all travellers to Aitutaki prior to departure from Rarotonga from tomorrow (Monday 24 January).
  • Gatherings, irrespective of vaccination status, limited to a maximum of 100.

Cabinet noted that Te Marae Ora intends to resume the Pa Enua vaccination roll-out later this week.

Cabinet was also briefed about 2 recently arrived tourists, one of whom had been notified by the NZ Ministry of Health that they had visited a location of interest. The couple tested negative on Saturday and are quarantined with Day 5 and Day 9 tests to follow. Only when they have tested negative for both remaining tests will they no longer be quarantined.

ENDS: Media enquiries to Jaewynn Mckay; +682 55486