20 May 2020

Cook Is health boss winds down NZ quarantine

9:08 pm on 20 May 2020

The Cook Islands government is keeping an eye on the Covid-19 status in New Zealand in order to make a decision on their border restrictions.

Te Marae Ora head, Dr Josphine Aumea Herman

Te Marae Ora head, Dr Josphine Aumea Herman Photo: RNZ Pacific / Lisa Williams

A group of 29 Cook Islands residents are completing their two week quarantine in Auckland this weekend and will fly out for another two weeks of quarantine in Rarotonga before they are cleared.

The head of the health ministry - Te Marae Ora, Josephine Aumea Herman, said New Zealand's situation will dictate when the Cook Islands will open up for more residents.

"We are looking at safe options to ease those restrictions and we have heard our people requesting to come home. That is underway, but I think what was important was to firstly see how NZ was progressing," said Dr Herman.

"So those are important pieces of information that can inform how we can safely lift our border restrictions currently in place."

Quarantine breach occurs in Rarotonga

Meanwhile, a breach of quarantine security at Rarotonga's Edgewater Resort on Monday afternoon sparked a police investigation and rapid public health action to determine the level of Covid-19 risk to at least five people.

An investigation has been completed but Te Marae Ora is awaiting the outcome of health tests of people outside the hotel before finalising their next step.

Local authorities said while the overall risk was not considered high, the current approach of zero tolerance to prevent Covid-19 means every precaution must be taken to ensure public safety.

The breach involved the transfer of an item from within the resort, being used to quarantine people for two week periods, to people outside.