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Removal of RAT testing requirement to be considered

Wednesday 15 June 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National


Removal of RAT testing requirement to be considered
(File photo) Yhamazii Royale has a RAT test done at Constitution Park. PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/22022701

The Cook Islands Government is considering removing all compulsory Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) tests as a prerequisite for traveling in the Pa Enua (Outer Islands).

Figures provided by Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health show there was just one positive case recorded in Rarotonga, taking the total number of cases on the island to 4906 since the pandemic began.

There have been 573 cases in Aitutaki, 170 in Atiu, 67 in Mauke, three in Penrhyn and one in Mitiaro.

Of those cases, only seven remain active.

Secretary of Health Bob Williams confirmed Government is considering totally removing RAT testing to all Pa Enua from July 1.

Under the current health regulations, a negative RAT test is required to travel from Rarotonga to the Pa Enua (except Aitutaki, Atiu and Mauke).

Mitiaro Island council executive officer Anna Roi said the reason why the island, and many of the other Pa Enua remained largely Covid-19 free was because of the RAT test requirement.

“People have to test negative before they come visit here. This requirement has helped keep our Covid-19 numbers down, it’s as simple as that,” Roi said.

Roi said TMO had told them that the Covid-19 vaccine only lasts for set period of time.

“As for myself, I ended up getting a positive test for Covid-19 in Rarotonga. It was just like a very bad version of the flu, I wasn’t afraid of it,” she said.

However, Roi noted that many of the older people living in the Pa Enua were afraid of the risks of Covid-19.

“Once the RAT testing requirement drops, we have to just look after ourselves, there’s nothing more we can do,” she said.

Meanwhile, Williams told Cook Islands News that he would not be surprised if the number of actual Covid-19 cases would be higher than those reported as “we know a few when they come and request for a green card, but are not registered in the TMO list”.

Williams said at this stage, the isolation order for all Covid-19-affected people will remain at seven days, due to the incubation period of the virus.

However, he noted that Rarotonga was “almost at the tail end of Covid-19”.