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[Media Release-OPM] Quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand to resumes

14 January 2021



Prime Minister Hon Mark Brown today welcomed New Zealand’s commitment to the removal of mandatory quarantine for Cook Islands arrivals into New Zealand from 20 January 2021 (Cook Islands’ time). This announcement follows a joint release earlier this morning with New Zealand Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern.


Prime Minister Brown said, “Cook Islanders will be looking forward to arriving in New Zealand without the need to go into quarantine for two weeks. This move will enable Cook Islands residents to access long-delayed health services in New Zealand, to enrol or re-enrol at schools and universities to visit anau members for the first time in nearly a year without having to quarantine on arrival.”


“In addition, specialist workers and contractors and the judiciary can now come to Rarotonga for short terms without the need for two-week quarantine on return. There has been a desperate need to clear one year’s worth of court cases due to the inability to conduct trials and hearings before a judge. Private companies have been ham-strung by the inability to bring in specialists for major projects and infrastructure work”.


“I appreciate the enormous amount of work and effort by a number of people that has enabled us to get to this stage today. This announcement demonstrates the confidence New Zealand has in us, and we will not take that for granted”.


Today’s announcement does not change the current travel criteria for people wishing to travel between the Cook Islands and New Zealand. However eligible passengers planning to travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand are no longer required to enter a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility for 14 days, upon arrival in Auckland.


Since July 2020, both Governments have been working hard towards resumption of one-way quarantine-free travel for Cook Islands residents to New Zealand, in advance of two-way quarantine-free travel (to include New Zealand visitors to the Cook Islands) to commence this first quarter of 2021.


Prime Minister Brown stated “I want to reassure our Cook Islands people that maintaining our COVID-19 free status continues to be paramount. Both countries are carefully managing our travel processes and making significant changes to ensure safe travel processes are in place to protect our people.


“The two-way quarantine-free travel arrangement will be subject to shared confidence by both Governments that the systems, procedures and materials demonstrating readiness of both sides, including contingency response and health resourcing plans are in place to allow safe two-way travel”.


ENDS:


The entry criteria for the Cook Islands can be viewed on the webpage: Cook Islands Government COVID-19 info – Travel and Border Control

Media contact: Jaewynn McKay +682 55486;