Additional public health measures have been included in the Cook Islands Covid-19 Safe Framework following the announcement of community transmission of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in New Zealand.
the government approved to retain the existing International Quarantine Free
Travel border settings despite eight new community cases of Omicron in New
to NZ health ministry, to date there are 19 community cases of Covid-19 linked
to what it is calling the January Omicron cluster.
Cook Islands Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Mark Brown met yesterday to
consider additional public health measures following this community
transmission of the highly infectious variant.
approved the following additional measures and may consider other measures in
the coming days, a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said.
additional measures include:
unvaccinated people will be allowed entry into the Cook Islands for the next
month. Cook Islands Residents or Work Permits 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.
mask wearing in all public indoor settings e.g., retail, workplaces, church.
schools (primary and secondary) and Early Childhood Centres to close to
students for two weeks (or an additional two weeks if already closed), resuming
Monday, February 7. 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
testing required for all travellers to Aitutaki prior to departure from
Rarotonga from tomorrow (Monday 24 January).
irrespective of vaccination status, limited to a maximum of 100.
otherwise specified, it is intended that they will all take effect from
Wednesday, January 26, the statement said.
Cabinet noted that Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health intends to resume the Pa
Enua vaccination roll-out later this week.
Scott, the president of the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council, said the
industry is relieved that government is sticking to its promise of keeping the
border open for travel as NZ moves into “red”.
were always aware that it was just a matter of time before Omicron came out
into the New Zealand community, and given the pre-travel requirements to get
into Rarotonga as well as high vaccination rates on island, it is no surprise
that the border remains open,” said Scott, who is also the general manager of
the Muri Beach Club Hotel.
top of these measures of course, are the on the ground additional precautions
such as restrictions in high risk venues, such as mask wearing, social
distancing and so on.
outlets, local produce suppliers, fishermen, rental cars, stationary suppliers,
printers – everyone is affected – but more importantly, it allows businesses to
retain staff, it allows sole traders to continue with their small businesses
and prevents them from looking for opportunities offshore.
need to bounce back – we need to learn to live with Covid-19 and its variants –
we need to find the balance that is going to keep us safe whilst allowing us to
move the economy forward by being sustainable. We cannot continue growing
our debt levels and/or become too reliant on outside support.”
Cabinet was also briefed about two recently arrived tourists, one of whom had
been notified by the NZ Ministry of Health that they had visited a location of
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.