‘Someone had stuffed up’

Wednesday June 17, 2020 Written by Published in Health

Cook Islands borders will still open for over 200 returning Cook Islanders and work permits holders this Friday despite two new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand.

Passengers on a flight from Auckland to Rarotonga on June 19 will be allowed into the country without having to quarantine unless Te Marae Ora advisory changes.

The issue was raised in Parliament yesterday by Ngatangiia MP Tama Tuavera with Health Minister Rose Toki-Brown, but was redirected to Prime Minister Henry Puna, who is chairman of the National Health Emergency Taskforce.

Tuavera expressed concerns about the opening of the country’s borders on June 19 after the announcement of two new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand.

“I’m worried about those who are vulnerable in the community,” he said.

The Prime Minister said it was concerning that there were two new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand and he acknowledged that somewhere along the line “someone had stuffed up”. 

However, he said he felt it was important to understand the circumstances giving rise to the two cases, who had travelled from the UK to New Zealand.

The pair, women in their 30s and 40s, were given exemption provisions for the funeral of one of their parents.

But for more than three weeks there had been no new cases, Puna said which speaks volumes to the control, management and capability that they have in New Zealand.

“There is no question that there is no evidence of community transmission of the virus in New Zealand,” he said.

“These two cases are now isolated and I’m sure contact tracing is already underway.”

All Covid-19 safety measures implemented at Parliament’s first sitting in March including installation of screens and social distancing were lifted yesterday meaning MPs could stand to speak.

But the Prime Minister said he strongly agreed with Tuavera and it was important to remain vigilant with the control of the borders.

“We cannot afford to relax,” he said.

“But we also have every confidence in the abilities of our medical professionals to give us the very best advice that has so far seen us through this Covid challenge.”

No new advice had come from the Health ministry in regards to changing protocols around the opening of the borders on Friday, June 19.

“Should anything new come to light, and we receive any new information we will definitely advise this honourable house,” he said.

Leave a comment