Government has decided to resume incoming passenger travel from Auckland to Rarotonga despite a new Covid-19 community case in New Zealand Sunday.
A full flight is expected from Auckland tomorrow after government
lifted travel restrictions on incoming passengers.
Last week government did not allow passengers on two Air New
Zealand flights to Rarotonga after new Covid-19 community cases in Auckland.
Yesterday the NZ Health ministry confirmed an eighth person
had tested positive for Covid-19. The new community case was linked to the
existing Auckland February cases and the person has been in quarantine since
Despite a new community case, the Cook Islands Cabinet, who
met yesterday, approved the recommendations of Te Marae Ora, Cook Islands
Ministry of Health to resume incoming passenger travel from Auckland to
Rarotonga. The passengers are not required to quarantine on arrival.
The usual entry requirements remain in place for Cook
Islanders and work and residence permit holders.
All passengers will be required to obtain a negative
Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure from Auckland. Arriving passengers
will also be required to undertake a Covid-19 test on day six after their
return to the Cook Islands.
Prime Minister Mark Brown said he had confidence in the New
Zealand systems and testing and contact tracing regime. Cabinet noted the
situation in Auckland regarding the latest outbreak and were encouraged by the
latest test findings and were in full support of the Te Marae Ora
“The advice Te Marae Ora provided Cabinet complements a
statement from the NZ Ministry of Health this afternoon, ‘due to the steps
already taken identifying, testing, and tracing individuals linked to the February
cases, … the public health risk is considered very low’.”
Incoming passengers stranded in Auckland were thrilled to
hear the news.
Tony Fe’ao, who travelled to Auckland for medical reasons,
said he was prepared for the worst.
“I trust that our government will make the best calls for
the safety of our island.”
Rebecca Tavioni, who travelled with her husband and three
children to visit their families in New Zealand, said: “Hearing that we will be
able to travel home on Tuesday is the best thing we could’ve hoped to hear this
“We left home eager to travel to NZ and all that comes with
it only to find a greater appreciation and love for our paradiso. I don’t think
we will travel again for some time knowing that we may struggle to return again
Tavioni and her family, who were scheduled to return home
last week, had to do Covid-19 testing four times.
“The testing for Covid is more invasive than any of us
initially thought. The procedure itself is painful for the children, after the
first test they cried the entire car ride home.
“In total we have been tested four times, the kids would all
erupt into tears and genuine fear when we arrived for our subsequent tests,
they didn’t understand why we had to keep enduring these procedures to the
point of crying to stay in NZ in an attempt to avoid the ‘nose test’. This is
the key reason why I will not travel with them again for some time to come.”
Meanwhile Auckland moved to alert level 1 at midnight last
Eight cases that had recently emerged had all been linked
and close contacts of the mother of a family at the centre of the outbreak had
all produced negative results, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
NZ Cabinet had decided to make face coverings mandatory in
all public transport across the country at levels one and two.