30 Nov 2020

Stricter border controls in Cook Islands but still no quarantine

5:26 pm on 30 November 2020

Stricter border controls are being adopted in the Cook Islands where a Covid-19 Bill has been amended in parliament's final sitting of the year.

Rarotonga Airport.

Rarotonga Airport. Photo: Airport Authority Cook Islands

Amendments included extending the lifespan of the bill until July next year.

As well as stricter border controls, the Amendment Bill provides for ongoing physical distancing and mask use.

There will also be stronger enforcement of the measures through fines and imprisonment for anyone who breaks the rules.

The Bill was passed unanimously, although there was some concern for the lifting of 14-day supervised quarantine.

Prime Minister Mark Brown clarified that this was not necessary while New Zealand was at alert level one.

Given New Zealand is the only port of entry to the Cook Islands at this time, Cabinet was satisfied the risk was low.

The Prime Minister added that people can now look forward to the holiday season in hope and optimism rather than fear and panic.