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3 December 2021

Prime Minister Mark Brown  has announced that the Cook Islands has it’s first positive case of COVID-19.

A passenger on yesterday’s repatriation flight who tested clear of the virus on 30 November (NZT), returned a weak positive when tested late yesterday evening (Day Zero Test).

The case is a 10 year-old child travelling with his mother and two siblings. The mother is fully vaccinated. The three children are all not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

The family are all contained in the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facility. So far, neither this positive case nor the other members of this family have shown any sypmtoms of the virus. They will all remain in MIQ until there is no risk of the virus getting into the wider community. This may take some time if other members of the family become infected.

All of the other 172 passengers have returned negative tests.

“We have been preparing ourselves for the time we re-open our borders. Our testing regimes have shown the value of that preparation by catching this case at the border,” Prime Minister Brown said.

“I want to reiterate that for many months we have been planning for how we handle the border reopening and dealing with any potential cornavirus threats, I further reiterate the importance for all eligible members of our population to be vaccinated, to give us that added layer of protection against serious illness and possible death.”

“The vaccine is still available to all eligible people, and once we have the all clear to do so, we will be offering the vaccination to our 5-11-year olds, protecting them from getting infected by the coronavirus.”

“The ability of this virus to cross borders can be seen worldwide, and that is why border workers wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and follow infection control procedures at  work – to elliminate the risk of catching the virus through their work. As an added precaution TMO will be testing all of our border workers who met yesterday’s flight. I will keep you posted if there are any further developments.”

“I hope you will join me in wishing the family a speedy recovery.”

ENDS: Media enquiries to Jaewynn McKay;; +682 55486