18 Mar 2020

Cook Islands ramps up Covid-19 prevention and mitigation

3:21 pm on 18 March 2020

The head of the Cook Islands' Ministry of Health - Te Marae Ora says a combined national response has been put in place to battle the coronavirus.

Josephine Aumea Herman says while health is the lead agency, all sectors are making resources available.

Dr Josephine Aumea Herman

Dr Josephine Aumea Herman Photo: Supplied

Dr Aumea Herman says traditional leadership structures and the church are involved in communicating techniques to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

She says all non-essential surgery and dental care has been cancelled to free up medical capacity.

Further, she says all clinics are now online and GP consultations are over the phone with prescriptions being fulfilled to three month periods.

"For our country where we have fragile infrastructure and health systems and no ICU capability, we need a national co-ordinated whole of government, whole of country response, and that's what we've done."

Pride festival cancelled in the Cook Islands

Earlier the rainbow community in the Cook Islands announced it had cancelled its first ever Pride Day.

The Te Tiare association, which represents the country's LGBT+ groups, planned the historic event for Friday 27 March.

However the association had now put the day on hold indefinitely.

Pride Cook Islands spokesperson Karla Eggelton said the cancellation was to support efforts to mitigate any risk of spreading coronavirus.

Ms Eggelton said it was in the interests of the country's health and safety.

She said after stricter border control and social distancing measures were announced to prevent coronavirus entering the Cook Islands, the association reassessed plans.

She said Te Tiare was acting on new advice.

"The request of reducing events and group gatherings of more than 50 people. And so we thought that it was in the best interests of the event as well as in the best interests of our nation that we postpone until further notice for when the country is ready to support such an important event like Pride."

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Photo: Wikimedia