July is goal to reopen border

Tuesday May 26, 2020 Written by Published in Economy
An Air NZ flight arrives at Rarotonga. An Air NZ flight arrives at Rarotonga. BRENT HAYDEN 20052515

It’s been two months since any tourists have visited the Cook Islands – but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

With an improving regional situation around the Covid-19 pandemic, government is confident an easing of travel restrictions. 

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown said the government supported Private Sector Taskforce calls to work towards a concrete date in July.

READ MORE:

* ‘I’d be dead if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet’

* Six years and out for expat workers’

* Quarantine Quiz: Ostriches, camels and Mark Brown

“We are actively working with Te Marae Ora, Chamber and tourism to determine what it will take,” he said, “while at same time protecting our people from the risk of the virus entering our country.”

Cook Islands had most of its eggs in the tourism basket, he acknowledged, but he also warned there are no magic diversification bullets.

“We are now in late May and have gone without tourists visiting our shores for two months,” he said.

“While many of us are enjoying the slower pace of life that comes with fewer people on our islands, it is vital to our livelihoods that we look forward and work towards the safest way to open our borders.” 

A number of officials have been directed to work towards the country’s borders re-opening, holding discussions with counterparts from New Zealand, the World Health Organization and the Pacific Community to develop plans for the easing of border restrictions.

Secretary of Health Dr Josephine Aumea Herman said the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand was being monitored closely. “Changes will only be made once officials are satisfied risks to public health are minimal or that processes are in place to mitigate these,” she said. “The community’s health is the priority.”

They will also be engaging with the private sector and community representatives to ensure that when the borders are reopened, there is the ability to be able to protect the health of the community.

“Our health and economy must move forward together- we cannot maintain our economy without considering the health and safety of our people,” Brown said.

“Likewise, we cannot maintain our health system without a viable economy.” 

Recognition must also be given, Brown said, to the diligent work by healthcare workers and a committed public that had allowed Cook Islands to declare itself Covid-19-free.

“Yet this pandemic is unlike any public health emergency we have ever seen,” Brown said. “While the Government works through the details on how to reopen, we recognise there will likely be a gap between the end of phase one economic support in June and the border opening.” 

13 comments

  • Comment Link dean burke Wednesday, 27 May 2020 11:34 posted by dean burke

    Having spent 5 months in the cooks may to august 2019, then returning December 1 thru Jan 25, and left behind someone to fall in love with, it is very painful to not be there now, as I was to return May 1. I have fastidiously self quarantined and know I’m virus free. I hope I may return.
    Greetings to friends at the Avarua bakery, at the Creative Center, at Trios, and many wonderful people.
    When I was there, the dogs were a major problem on Raro, the water problem, the quaint ( to me) political corruption and how busy it was compared to 2014 when I first came thither, I now say big deal, to these problems. I can’t believe I complained about anything while there.
    Long live the Cooks and by God’s grace maybe I’ll be there again.
    Sincerely, dean

  • Comment Link Karin Wednesday, 27 May 2020 10:56 posted by Karin

    ANZ canceled my flight as well. I hope tourists (me) are able to safely travel to Raro soon. Stay safe everyone.

  • Comment Link Mario Panetta Tuesday, 26 May 2020 21:18 posted by Mario Panetta

    Well my wife and I are hoping the boarders will open by end of September as we booked last year to return too your wonderful island,I believe in hope even as far away from Australia.

  • Comment Link doug terry Tuesday, 26 May 2020 21:15 posted by doug terry

    Air New Zealand have cancellen our September Flight LA to Rarotonga.
    Have been informed by cook Island tourest that it is unlikly that we will be able to visit Aitutaki from the UK till this time next year.

  • Comment Link Barbara Te Awhitu Tuesday, 26 May 2020 21:07 posted by Barbara Te Awhitu

    Good on you Kukis we want to return but want to feel safe when we do. No boarders open to USA. We don’t mind waiting you did the right thing your island is precious. Arohanui Barbara Te Awhitu

  • Comment Link Teremaki Temu Tuesday, 26 May 2020 19:06 posted by Teremaki Temu

    Its not Air New Zealand whos cancelling its the borders that are cancelling flights, our flights were cancelled due to the borders being closed in Raroto ga. I have my dad who passed last week that needs to be buried in Atiu. The isolation periods are going to add another month to our journey home.
    We will wait patiently but hopefully not too long.

  • Comment Link douglas terry Tuesday, 26 May 2020 19:05 posted by douglas terry

    Air New Zealand have cancelled my flight which was for the end of September.
    Speaking to a Cook Island tourest person I was informed that it would be unlikly that I would be able to visit Aitutaki from the UK till this time next

  • Comment Link I hope it doesnt take too long. I have to take my dad bavk to Atiu who died last week so hopefully the Cook Islands will open to New Zealand. Tuesday, 26 May 2020 19:00 posted by I hope it doesnt take too long. I have to take my dad bavk to Atiu who died last week so hopefully the Cook Islands will open to New Zealand.

    Message

  • Comment Link Nicole Teremoana Tuesday, 26 May 2020 15:15 posted by Nicole Teremoana

    Hoping this will extend to Australia. We have postponed our flights but while we are eager to get back to our Island Paradise, we want it to be safe for all.

  • Comment Link Moosh Tuesday, 26 May 2020 13:12 posted by Moosh

    Australia?????
    Pleeeeeaase

Leave a comment