Covid-free Cooks travellers at risk in NZ quarantine

Saturday June 20, 2020 Written by Published in Health
Brett Davis. 11070602 Brett Davis. 11070602

An unhappy Brett Davis boarded a flight to New Zealand yesterday, concerned the New Zealand government would place him in a high-risk Covid quarantine camp.

He is one of the travellers expressing mounting frustration that New Zealanders and Cook Islanders alike will have to undergo 14 days quarantine, despite travelling from a Covid-free Pacific nation.

This makes them vulnerable to Covid-19 in New Zealand when they are placed in hotels with other travellers from Covid-ridden nations like Britain and the US.

Cook Islands government and business leaders say those travelling from this country should not need to be quarantined – we pose no greater risk than someone travelling from Waiheke Island into Auckland.

Davis said it was irresponsible putting people from the Cook Islands, who need to get back to New Zealand for medical reasons, funerals, university and other commitments, in quarantine with others from Covid-affected countries.

“Not to mention those that will be made redundant if the borders don’t open up soon,” he said.

“We have worked hard over the last few months to keep Covid-free and the only place we are likely to get infected is mixing with new arrivals,” he said.

“I can see a lot of difference between us and people going to mainland New Zealand from the Chatham Islands, Stewart Island and even Great Barrier – are they expected to quarantine.”

The family of tourism leader Sue Fletcher-Vea, who died of cardiac arrest at just 52, is in a similar position. They were initially promised seven days maximum self-isolation, before being tested then allowed out to attend her funeral.

But after the release of two Covid-infected sisters from quarantine to attend their mother’s funeral, New Zealand has tightened the rules.

Sue Fletcher-Vea’s family will now have to do 14 days in quarantine, forcing the postponement of her funeral.

Husband Tom Vea, sister Diane and sister-in-law Lotu and close friend Mii Rongo and four of their children, all accompanied her casket to New Zealand a week ago.

They had got a waiver from the New Zealand Government allowing them to go straight from the airport into self-isolation. 

All seven have tested clear of Covid-19.

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