Historical Covid test leads to further scrutiny of travellers

Wednesday 9 June 2021 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Local, National

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Historical Covid test leads to further scrutiny of travellers
Titikaveka MP Selina Napa. 21060844

Health officials will now question the honesty of health declaration forms from overseas travellers because of the positive historical Covid-19 case, says Prime Minister Mark Brown.

The man who has the historical case is a Cook Islander who works for an Australian company based in Egypt.

He has been charged with making a false declaration on a Cook Islands travel document after failing to declare the historical case.

Two weeks after the man’s arrival it became known the man previously had the virus from a positive Te Marae Ora Covid test on Friday.

The man was arrested on Saturday after being referred to by Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health. He is expected to appear in Court tomorrow.

Yesterday, during Parliament’s question time, both the Titikaveka Member of Parliament, Selina Napa and the Leader of the Opposition, Tina Browne asked the government how the problem was being addressed.

Browne asked if there was a way for the country not to rely solely on the information from the declaration forms.

In his reply, Prime Minister Brown said: “It’s very difficult to tell a person not to lie, we don’t control a person’s mind but we can control the consequences of lying.

"As we’ve read in the newspaper, this matter is now before the courts and this man will be charged.”

“One additional step that will now take place is that those people will now be questioned by health professionals whether their declaration is true and honest.”

Brown later told Cook Islands News: “Now they (travellers) will be asked the question, have they filled out their forms correctly and honestly, is that their name on the form.”

He said the consequences of making false declarations on travel documents are already in law.

“It’s in the hands of the authorities and the courts now to see what appropriate action should be taken.”

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