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Covid requirements ‘will be relaxed as cases decline’

Friday 22 April 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National


Covid requirements ‘will be relaxed as cases decline’
Secretary of Health Bob Williams. PHOTO: KATRINA LINTONBON/21012914

The daily Covid-19 case numbers continue to decline in Rarotonga and Aitutaki, and the health secretary Bob Williams is hinting at further relaxations of restrictions.

Figures provided by Te Marae Ora show that Rarotonga recorded 64 cases on Wednesday, while Aitutaki recorded 22. There were no new cases on Penrhyn and Mauke on Wednesday.

Secretary of Health Bob Williams said there had been a concerted effort in the Pa Enua to protect its residents, as Covid-19 will likely make its way through the outer islands.

“Penrhyn is under control and Mauke is also expected to be the same,” Williams said.

“The focus is now to dispatch resources to each of the Pa Enua – some will go to Pukapuka this week on the barge, same have been dispatched to Mangaia on Lady Moana (yesterday) and to Mitiaro and Mauke next week.

“A nurse practitioner is also deployed to Manihiki for two months to help prepare Manihiki and also Rakahanga. The vaccination team going tomorrow (today) to Rakahanga will also provide training before returning on Saturday.”

Asked whether there will be further relaxations such as on mask-wearing or isolating when infected with Covid-19, Williams responded: “We have already started relaxing the requirements and will continue as cases per day continues to decline and for Rarotonga to get some normality.”

“Everyone is still encouraged to wear masks and follow the public health measures as some people are still not yet contracted Covid – either they have followed the rules well or it’s good luck,” Williams said.

“However, the requirements will be relaxed as cases decline for Rarotonga and will be the same for Aitutaki but not yet.”

Williams said he was not surprised that the numbers had not increased on Mauke as “the Island Government have introduced an isolation requirement for arrival passengers to the island”.

“Penrhyn do have a similar requirement, but the original case contracted the virus from the Lady Moana crew and is a surprise that there is no further spread of the virus as all three people have now recovered and all remained asymptomatic.”    

Since the pandemic began in the Cook Islands, there have been 4490 Covid-19 cases, with 574 still active.