Shopping from Papa Ken Ben. Photo: Supplied/22021831
The Cooks Islands is providing wrap-around support to the women detected as the first Covid-19 cases in Rarotonga.
The three Auckland women have been in isolation in a bungalow at a property in the Titikaveka Puna district.
honest, the people here have been amazing, just so nice ... we’re just
thankful,” said ‘case zero’ who would like to remain anonymous.
Pacific has spoken exclusively with the first Covid-19 case detected in the
Cook Islands. She has Omicron and is asymptomatic. Her two traveling companions
who have since tested positive have a “tickle in their throat”, but it may just
be a result of being a little run down from travelling, case zero said.
three women were not surprised when the two companions subsequently tested
positive after initially returning negative tests, “they were definitely
banking on a positive”, case zero said.
had already been together since Thursday since the day we landed in Rarotonga,”
since then they had all been in the same room, she said.
spend $NZ250 on a PCR test to get here which is a hefty amount but what more
can you really do … it all comes down to turn around at the end of the day, if
you do a PCR test 24-hours before your flight that might help but it would be a
massive turn around that you would be asking for,” case zero said.
said the test should cost less so everyone can afford it and a test with a quicker
turnaround should be available.
zero got tested again after receiving news she was a close contact of someone
at a wedding she attended in Auckland. She has since tested positive for the
virus and received news from home that around “17 out of 100 people from the
wedding have tested positive so far”.
the numbers that are coming out from the wedding I would say that it is
possibly from the wedding in Auckland,” she said.
been recorded as the first case in history here … This is definitely not what I
wanted for history books,” case zero said.
has family in Rarotonga, they are in isolation too, “because I visited them, as
you do when you get off a plane … so yeah my family have been checking in on us
making sure we are safe … they have definitely been amazing, amazing family”.
Minister Mark Brown has applauded the first case for getting tested.
having no symptoms, you did the right thing and came in and got tested – and by
doing that you have probably significantly reduced the spread of the virus. So,
thank you for doing the right thing and making a difference,” he said.
When case zero first tested positive there
were some teething issues, confusion around information and whether the women
could receive a care pack with food, case zero said. But it has all been
sorted, they did get a care pack and the local community has helped them.
grateful for the support that we have had so far especially from Bella, she has
been amazing going above and beyond for us, and everybody else that has also
pitched in to make sure that we are all good, just kind hearted people here on
the island which we know the island to be. From the bottom of my heart ...
sorry that it has happened,” case zero said.
Tatuava, is the owner of the accommodation facility housing the three Covid
positive cases. She is also known as Bella, she upgraded the trio to a bungalow
with a waterfront view when they first arrived. Since the women tested positive
for Covid-19 she has moved them to another dwelling and is not charging them
for their stay.
hospitable is what it is all about in Rarotonga, Annabelle Tatuava said and
“the last thing we want is that she gets the blame, which is already happening
here on the island at the moment. If they get the blame for bringing Covid
here, because everyone is... freaking out at the moment”.
zero has spoken highly of Bella’s hospitality and the local church and
community groups too, “we’ve got mangoes, watermelon, pawpaw, bananas, just
amazing produce, fresh produce, words can’t express the amount of love that we
have for the people that have pitched in,” case zero said.
cannot wait to go for a swim when their isolation time is up, they will stay on
for a couple of days after getting the go ahead from the government to get a
proper holiday and “finish off on a good note”.
in the Cook Islands’ timeline (local time):
February – “This evening we detected our first case of Covid-19 that has
arrived into our country,” Prime Minister Mark Brown said.
February – “On Sunday we carried out 90 swab tests for Covid-19 with all coming
back negative except for our one positive case,” Brown said.
February – “On Monday, another 424 tests were carried out, with all 424
returning a negative result.”
February – “Health ministry Te Marae Ora (TMO) has confirmed that the two
traveling companions (close contacts) of the case first confirmed on Sunday 13
February, have tested positive for Covid-19,” Brown said.
February – “Health ministry Te Marae Ora (TMO) confirmed another positive case
of Covid-19 late on Thursday, February 17, bringing the current total number of
positive cases in the Cook Islands to four.”