The breaches prompted opposition Health spokesperson Selina Napa of the Democratic Party to call for a single designated supervised quarantine facility with 24/7 security.
On Thursday, Government quashed any potential change to a single, user-pay, designated quarantine facility.
“Our public health response to covid-19 must be contextualised to the Cook Islands, rather than New Zealand,” reads a release by Te Marae Ora The Ministry of Health.
The government said factors to consider when developing a quarantine plan go beyond cost and must acknowledge “the complexities, uncertainty, and rapidly evolving epidemiology of the disease.”
It described its quarantine process, in place since arrivals resumed on September 4, as cost effective and good for the “mental health and well-being” of returnees.
“We continue to learn from each arriving cohort and continue to improve our supervised quarantine process,” said Health Secretary Dr Aumea Herman.
In a radio interview this week, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown described the government’s current quarantine process as “a better arrangement” when compared to a single quarantine facility, while describing this week’s issues as “teething problems”.
“It’s human nature that some people will try and push the boundaries,” he said, referring to the breaches.
Brown said having quarantine costs borne by returnees in a residence approved by the government is a better system when compared to alternatives.
In the 2020/21 budget, Government set aside $3 million in a Covid-19 medical response fund. The fund’s purpose is “to facilitate costs related to reopening the borders and the potential for Covid-19 cases in the Cook Islands.”
A third cohort of returnees, approximately 20, is set to arrive on Rarotonga today.