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[Media Release - MFAI]

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Monday 16 March 2020

Cook Islands Government clarify further international air and sea travel and border measures as part of COVID-19 national response

Cabinet this afternoon met again to re-confirm decisions taken by Cabinet yesterday relating to international air and sea travel and border measures. The following international air and sea travel and border restrictions for the Cook Islands supersede those announced in media releases by both the Office of the Prime Minister and Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) yesterday Monday 15 March 2020.


Due to the global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and per the characterisation of COVID-19 as a ‘global pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation on 11 March 2020 and pursuant to Section 9A of the Entry Residence and Departure Act (1972) the following international air and sea travel restrictions for entry into the Cook Islands take effect.

A International air travel and entry restrictions - to remain in effect until 18 April 2020 23:59

These restrictions will apply to all travelers seeking entry to the Cook Islands.

(1) Persons intending to travel to the Cook Islands having originated from or transited through any country other than New Zealand within 14 days prior to travel will be denied entry into the Cook Islands. Such persons intending to travel to the Cook Islands must have self-quarantined for a minimum of 14 days in New Zealand prior to travel to the Cook Islands. This includes persons ordinarily resident in the Cook Islands returning from countries other than New Zealand; and

(2) The above restriction does not apply to persons ordinarily resident in the Cook Islands who have only travelled from the Cook Islands to New Zealand, and such persons do not need to stay in New Zealand for a minimum of 14 days before they can return to the Cook Islands and do not need to self-quarantine whilst in New Zealand.

Travelers who do not comply with these restrictions will be refused entry on arrival to the Cook Islands.

B Cruise Ships, Yachts and Leisure Crafts – entry restrictions will remain in effect until 30 June 2020

A temporary ban on the entry of all cruise ships, yachts and leisure crafts to the Cook Islands territorial waters on public health grounds.

C Postponement of direct flights from French Polynesia, Australia and the United States

Postponement of direct flights from French Polynesia, Australia and the United States.

D Non-essential travel for all Cook Islands residents and government employees international travel

All Cook Islands residents are encouraged to avoid non-essential international travel. All Government employees are to cancel all international travel duty commitments, unless an exemption is provide by the Office of the Public Service Commission on the advice of Te Marae Ora – Ministry of Health. Should Cook Islands residents choose to travel, entry restrictions into the Cook Islands as outlined in (1) and (2) under international air travel restrictions will apply.

MFAI is working closely with other government agencies to ensure a whole-of-government approach is being taken to manage this evolving situation. “The Cook Islands, like all countries, are dealing with a rapidly evolving, global pandemic, the scale of which has never been experienced before. While we are all working diligently and vigilantly to ensure the safety of all Cook Islands residents and visitors, we seek our public’s understanding as we translate political mandates into policy and operational implementation,” said MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann. “Government officials are acutely cognizant of the importance of accurate, timely and consistent announcements by government on international air and sea travel and border measures and that will continue to be our endeavour in the coming days.”

Any future international air and sea travel restriction announcements will be issued by MFAI on behalf of Government.

MFAI expect within the next day or two to issue Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) information relating to the travel restrictions. Immigration related queries regarding this release can be directed to Senior Immigration Officer Paul Taputu-Crombie on 29 347 or immigration2@cookislands.gov.ck Updates relating to international travel and border restrictions will also be posted to MFAI facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mfaicookislands/

This information is correct as at 1900 Monday 16 March 2020 and subject to review by Cabinet as circumstances require.


Self-quarantine in this context is defined as a state, period or place of isolation. Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health (TMO) recommend affected persons limit contact with others and particularly avoid social gatherings and events. This includes isolation from work, school, university, church, social or sports activities, supermarkets and food venues such as restaurants and cafes.

If self-quarantining in a home/private residence where others are present, TMO recommend the following additional measures;

• Ensure the affected persons confine themselves to separate bedroom/living quarters in which to recover, without sharing close space with others.

• Encourage use of personal protection equipment by the affected person within the home, such as face mask, to limit the exposure of others in the home

• Encourage frequent washing of hands and maintenance of personal hygiene

• Make sure the affected person has access to food, water and other necessities, without sharing with others in the home. This includes the separation of kitchen utensils and bathroom utilities.

For further clarification or health-related concerns, visit www.health.gov.ck or contact healthline on 29 667. See also TMO facebook page for updates at https://www.facebook.com/CookIslandsHealth/