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Mangaians celebrate freedom from health orders

Tuesday 23 August 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National

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Mangaians celebrate freedom from health orders
The Mangaia Lodge Community Centre. SUPPLIED/21072001

The people of Mangaia celebrated their freedom from health orders this weekend after nearly two months under restrictions.

The island, which has a population of about 450 people, had recorded 218 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began there in late July.

Since late July, the island had been under health orders, with all events and social gatherings restricted to a maximum of 50 people for indoor events and 100 people for outdoor events.

There was also mandatory mask wearing in public places and mandatory negative RAT (rapid antigen testing) tests for people participating in contact sports.

However, Te Marae Ora dropped all health orders over the weekend, after it was satisfied that the daily case numbers had dropped sufficiently.

Mangaia island council executive officer Anthony Whyte said there was a “good feeling” about the island over the weekend.

“There were a lot of birthday parties happening, and there were some politicians hosting their post-election wrap-up parties as they were not able to do so previously,” Whyte said.

Whyte said although mandatory mask wearing has now been lifted, he still noticed “quite a bit of it” happening in shops and banks.

“I think there are some people who are still a little bit worried, so they’re taking extra care.”

Whyte said during the health order period, compliance in the island had been “pretty good”, with those affected by Covid-19 isolating at home, and everyone else observing social distancing when required to do so.

“We did decide to hold a small thing for Constitution Day on August 4, we had about 50 people at the gathering, everyone was wearing masks and social distancing,” he said.

“But during this period, we were thankful for our high vaccination rate, which made things easier.”

According to TMO’s Covid-19 webpage, there have been 6265 cases of Covid-19 in the Cook Islands since the pandemic began.

However, the website has not been updated since August 16.

When Cook Islands News made inquiries via social media about this, a spokesperson for the webpage said: “Our Covid-19 website stats and dashboard numbers are updated based on a report that is sent to us from the Cook Islands HIU (Health Intelligence Unit). The last report we received from them was on the August 16, 2022.”

“We have followed up with them for any new numbers. The dashboard will be updated accordingly should there be an update.”


Correction: August. 23, 2022.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly used a photo of the of "Taunga Nui" Mauke wharf to depict the island of Mangaia. It should have been a photo of the island of Mangaia and not Mauke.