5 Dec 2021

'Full steam ahead' for Cook Islands- NZ bubble reopening

2:38 pm on 5 December 2021

Quarantine and isolation-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands resumes on 14 January.

Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The dates for the travel bubble's reopening were announced last month but since then the Cook Islands has had a case of Covid-19.

On Friday a child in MIQ in Rarotonga returned a weak positive result for Covid-19 but general manager of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation Australasia Graeme West says they are confident it is contained at the border and the risk to the community is very low.

"It's definitely still full steam ahead for the border re-opening.

"The child was part of a repatriation flight from New Zealand, and all 176 passengers are in managed quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. Neither the child nor his family are symptomatic.

West says the government's top priority has been managing the health and safety of locals and visitors.

"Ninety-nine percent of the population 12 years and over have had their first shot and 96 percent are fully vaccinated. Booster shots are starting soon and the vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years should start early next year," he said.

"The Cook Islands remains the only country that people in New Zealand will be able to travel to and from without any quarantine or self-isolation at either end of their trip."

Travel to the Cook Islands as part of the bubble was only for fully vaccinated travellers who are over 12 years old.

Children under 12 years old will be allowed to visit once children aged 5-11 in both countries are able to be vaccinated.

Travellers require a Covid test 72 hours before departure, showing the negative result at departure and on arrival. They also need to complete a Cook Islands contact from no more than 72 hours before departure and download the Cooksafe+ Bluetooth app as well as use their personal Cooksafe QR code card given on arrival.