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Pa Enua travel except Aitutaki remains closed

Thursday 3 March 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Passenger travel to Aitutaki remains open while the rest of the Pa Enua (Outer Islands) will stay suspended until midnight Sunday.

Prime Minister Mark Brown yesterday extended the suspension that was originally put in place on February 13 – when the Cook Islands had its first Covid-19 case.

The travel suspension was briefly lifted to allow residents to return home before government suspended travel again following the first Covid-19 community case late last week.

Speaking to Cook Islands News, Brown said travel to the Pa Enua could still remain suspended after Sunday.

“We will just wait and see how far the spread is amongst the people here in Rarotonga,” he said. “We are looking at it at a day by day basis.”

Brown said the plan was “to resume business as soon as possible”.

“With the numbers now growing again it’s added caution, and also the Pa Enua have asked us to suspend passenger travel until further notice. So we will look at it on Sunday and see what the spread is like there but eventually we will open again to the Pa Enua.”

Brown said the decision to keep the Pa Enua closed was the Government’s decision but was recommended by the Island Council.

He said getting the level of vaccination as high as possible would add protection for when the Government decided to recommence travel to the Pa Enua.

This weekend the second pediatric vaccination will be rolled out in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The Southern Group will be done the following week followed by the Northern Group later in the month.

Government is also looking at Aitutaki on a day-to-day basis to see if travel needed to be suspended.

PM Brown said: “If case numbers surge to a level here where testing at the airport results in so many people testing positive, that may naturally suspend travel to Aitutaki, because you still have to be tested to get on the plane.”