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Wednesday 16 February 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands


Mangaia serious about TMO protocols
Visitors land at Mangaia airport. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/22021512

Since the detection of the first community case of Covid-19 on Rarotonga two days ago, a Ministerial Order was issued suspending all passenger air and sea travel to the Pa Enua.

Since the first week of February, the island of Mangaia has been following all protocols set out by Te Marae Ora (TMO) for when the country reopened its borders to New Zealand on January 13.

The closing of the borders to the Pa Enua is a good short term reaction as the Aronga Mana and Island Government on Mangaia had been in favour of this, once a case was detected, said the Executive Officer (EO) for Mangaia, Anthony Whyte.

Prior to the Pa Enua borders closing, workers have been vigilant at the airport, ensuring that TMO proof of being tested on Rarotonga is collected from passengers, by staff wearing masks, sanitizing and tagging in, “so we have been serious about it.

“We have been working very closely with Te Marae Ora on our island to help with guidance and we have seen the community has supported it very well, as at the end of the day it’s the community we are looking out for,” said Whyte.

On Mangaia masks are worn in public places, social gatherings, in the work place, at the shops, school and the CookSafe Tag in is now at a number of locations as well as the manual sign in registry.

All workers for the Island Government have been issued masks, briefings in the mornings are conducted with masks, social distancing is observed when needed along with hand sanitizing.

Mangaia is almost 96 per cent vaccinated - Whyte expressed that friends, families and small businesses rely on inter island travel, “and we are probably well prepared to cope with it.

“We will be encouraging the few remaining people on the island not vaccinated to reconsider for the sake of the rest of the community and themselves.”

Travel to the Pa Enua is restricted to pilots and crew for the purpose of transporting cargo to the Pa Enua and/or transporting passengers and cargo from the Pa Enua to Rarotonga, unless an exemption has been obtained from the Secretary of Health (or delegate).

Whyte is currently stuck on Rarotonga, having arrived on Friday and is keen to return to Mangaia with his family as soon as the borders are reopened.

The issued travel order applies to Aitutaki up to 11:59pm today.

Cook Islands News understands that a meeting will be held today to relook at the reopening of its border.

For the rest of the Pa Enua, the passenger travel ban is currently in place until 11:59pm Sunday, February 20.

Government will monitor and review the situation closely.