20 Oct 2020

Cooks reviews plans for NZ travel bubble

4:48 pm on 20 October 2020

The Cook Islands Government is reviewing its procedures for incoming passengers after the revelations in New Zealand of a Covid-19 case involving a port worker.

The Cook Islands News reported negotiations to form a travel bubble were now back to square one.

After 22 days with no new community cases in New Zealand, a port worker tested positive for the coronavirus at the weekend.

The President of the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce, Fletcher Melvin

The President of the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce, Fletcher Melvin Photo: CI Govt

The chair of the Private Sector Taskforce in Cook Islands, Fletcher Melvin, said the government now needed to explore other options to restart the tourism industry.

The key element of any bubble arrangement was reportedly that there were at least 28 days with no Covid-19 cases in the community.

New Zealand's Health Ministry said the case a "border incursion" and the risk of spread through the community was low.

The case involved a marine engineer who most probably picked up the virus while working on a ship in Auckland earlier this month.

The Prime Minister Mark Brown agreed it was becoming apparent that random cases would continue to occur in New Zealand.

"We must plan and design processes and systems that will take these considerations into account whilst at the same time looking at ways to get back into our tourism business."

Last week Brown announced incoming passengers from New Zealand would no longer need to undergo 14-day supervised quarantine from this Friday.

Meanwhile the Taskforce reiterated its earlier call for the government to allow financially secure New Zealanders with sufficient health insurance to stay in Cooks for up to 180 days.

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands PM, Mark Brown Photo: Cook Islands News