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16 February 2022

Health ministry Te Marae Ora (TMO) has confirmed that the two travelling companions (close contacts) of the case first confirmed on Sunday 13 February, have tested positive for Covid-19.

The case, who arrived last Thursday, presented for testing on Sunday after being advised that family members in New Zealand had tested positive for Covid-19.

“Being close contacts, it is not surprising that the travelling companions have also tested positive,” said Prime Minister Brown during a press conference this morning.

A total of 175 PCR swabs were tested yesterday, 172 returned negative results, one was inconclusive and will be re-tested and the 2 close contacts returned positive results.

The close contacts who initially tested negative on Monday both informed health staff of developing persisting sore throats which worsened yesterday and so they were tested again. It is those tests that have returned positive results.

The two close contacts will now remain in isolation for a further 10 days on top of the previous two days spent in quarantine. The original case also remains in isolation.

All three will be discharged once they have reached the end of their respective 10-day isolation periods, provided they have been symptom-free for at least 72 hours beforehand.

“During this time, they will be well supported by Te Marae Ora and their local Puna.”

“We have prepared for this situation as best we can across Te Marae Ora, the Puna structure and government as a whole. Whilst it is normal that some of our people will feel anxious about what is happening, we will get through this.”

“I urge people on Rarotonga, if they haven’t already, to get a booster this Saturday to improve their protection. The opportunity is also there for people to start or continue their vaccination programme, including that of our 5-11-year-olds,” Mr Brown concluded.

ENDS: Media enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486