Passengers head off to the Cook islands after the travel bubble reopened. Photo: RNZ / Lydia Lewis
Regulations in the Cook Islands are softening, with Prime Minister Mark Brown announcing major changes today surrounding travel to the nation.
The changes are in response to New Zealand's adjustments to the increasing Omicron infection rate.
Rapid Antigen Tests will now be used instead of PCR tests for travellers coming from New Zealand to the Cook Islands.
A negative Covid-19 test under supervision will now be required to enter the Cook Islands, taken 24 hours before departure.
It's important to note the RAT will need to be "done under supervision to be valid," Mr Brown said.
The Te Marae Ora website has a list of places and pharmacies where this can be done quickly and at greatly reduced cost.
By next week unvaccinated Cook Islanders and permanent residents can enter the Cook Islands and MIQ will no longer be required.
"It is now much clearer that unvaccinated people pose a greater risk to themselves rather than others when they are infected with Covid."
He said "MIQ is now redundant" and it's now about slowing down the impacts to vulnerable people.
If you are in NZ or have just arrived in NZ, then you will be able travel to the Cook Islands without the need for 10 days stand down in NZ.
"This will make it easier for our people from Australia in particular to visit home," he said.
From midnight tonight, and in alignment with New Zealand, the Isolation and quarantine period for those who test positive for Covid-19, and their close contacts, will move from 10 days to seven days.
Meanwhile, restrictions regarding indoor and outdoor events and social gatherings, contact sports and Pa Enua travel has been extended to 11.59pm on Thursday 17th March.
Lou S on 15/03/2022
what is the date for Australians being able to enter without 10 days in NZ?
Corey Numa on 14/03/2022
Question with regards to this statement:- By next week unvaccinated Cook Islanders and permanent residents can enter the Cook Islands and MIQ will no longer be required.
How is that possible when Air New Zealand Policy is no unvaccinated passengers? Anyone shed any light?