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Cabinet approves exemptions for entry to the Cook Islands – 30 August 2020

The Cook Islands Cabinet met today and approved the continuation of the air border closure for inwards passenger travel, with exemptions, which include 14 days supervised quarantine on arrival.

This will be effective from 11:59pm tonight – Sunday 30 August 2020 (CKT) until further notice.

A revised travel advisory has been posted to the COVID-19 website

Prime Minister Henry Puna noted “This continues to be a challenging time for all of us and many factors have been taken into consideration. We believe we have made a well-informed decision based on advice from Te Marae Ora and other agencies. Cabinet will continue to monitor this situation.”

Exemptions will only be granted to passengers who meet the following criteria:
• Cook Islanders (as verified via Cook Islands Status stamp)
• Permanent Residents of the Cook Islands
• Cook Islands work permit holders
• Cook Islands resident permit holders

It will be mandatory for all persons returning to Rarotonga to undertake 14 days supervised quarantine on arrival. There will be no exceptions, including for those hoping to travel directly to the Pa Enua.

Intending travellers need to comply with the following health requirements:
• Provision of a negative COVID-19 test result. Test to be taken within 96 hours of
departure from Auckland
• Confirmed pre-approved supervised quarantine residence in Rarotonga
• Completed exit health clearance from Auckland International Airport
• Undergo Supervised Quarantine in a pre-approved residence in Rarotonga for two weeks
• Undertake COVID-19 testing in Rarotonga
• Complete exit health clearance from Te Marae Ora on day 14.

“Can I assure members of the public that the decision to allow our people to return home has not been taken without due consideration of the facts, and the advice of public health professionals and senior government officials both here and in New Zealand. Can I also assure our communities in Rarotonga that this will be “supervised” quarantine overseen by
Te Marae Ora, through their established community health clinics and partnerships with the community and Puna”.

The COVID-19 Act 2020 gives the Secretary of Health the legal power to order and enforce this supervised quarantine. Penalties for any breach carries a maximum of 12 months imprisonment or a $10,000 fine.

Te Marae Ora and Cook Islands Immigration will be liaising directly with those travellers affected by the border closure.

ENDS: Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486;