10 Jan 2011

Cook Islands PM raises possibility of quarantine in HIV case

2:37 pm on 10 January 2011

Statements by the Cook Islands Prime Minister appear to cast doubt on the government's position on the first HIV positive case in the country.

In a local newspaper, Prime Minister Henry Puna has raised the possibility of quarantine or deportation.

Beverley Tse reports

"Last week Health Minister Nandi Glassie said that after seeking advice the government would not identify the first person to test positive for HIV in the Cook Islands. But now Prime Minister Henry Puna has told the Cook Island News that while the government will accept the advice of the National HIV committee not to identify the person at this point in time, the case for protecting the public is equally compelling. Mr Puna says HIV is not a curable disease and practical questions need to be asked such as whether quarantining the person would ensure they do not infect other people. He also says there are grounds for deportation because the individual - who has been identified as a foreign worker - is not clear of HIV which is a condition of entry. Cabinet is expected to be briefed on the case this week."