COVID-19

Health resources, information, and advice to protect yourself, your family, and your community. 

Cook Islands is currently in Alert Level 1

0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Cook Islands

Click here to view more information on Cook Islands Alert level Reponses or visit Cook Islands COVID-19 Response website for more information on Alert Levels.

Public Health Measures

COVID-19 mainly spreads from person-to-person through infected droplets released when a sick person sneezes or coughs nearby another person’s mouth and nose.  Te Marae Ora recommends these simples steps to keep yourself and your families safe.

10 Public Health Tips to Keep You Safe
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  2. Practise pragmatic physical distancing (at least 2m)
  3. Cover your coughs and sneezes
  4. Avoid touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose) with unwashed hands
  5. Stay home when unwell
  6. Wear a face mask if unwell, in public, crowded, or enclosed spaces
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  8. Limit time spent in crowded and enclosed spaces
  9. Protect vulnerable people in our community
  10. Avoid spreading misinformation

Vaccination

Te Marae Ora (TMO) and the Government of the Cook Islands is working to get safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines at the earliest possible time from New Zealand. The vaccine will be free to the Cook Islands public. The COVID-19 vaccination will be free of charge and completely voluntary.

Click here to view Cook Islands COVID-19 Vaccine Information sheet

What vaccines will be available

COVID-19 vaccines that is made available to the Cook Islands is Pfizer. More information on the vaccines will be made available.

Who can get a vaccine

You can get a free vaccine if you are in the Cook Islands. Everyone in the Cook Islands is eligible for free COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of your residency or permit status. Any information collected will not be used for immigration purposes. We are expecting enough vaccines for everyone in the Cook Islands – over 15,000 people.

Should pregnant women be vaccinated?

While pregnancy puts women at higher risk of severe COVID-19, very little data is available to assess vaccine safety during pregnancy. Pregnant women may receive the vaccine if the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks. For this reason, pregnant women at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 (example health workers) or who have comorbidities, which add to their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider. The vaccine is not recommended for People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it. The vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 16 or 18 years of age depending on the type of vaccine and the results of further studies.

When will you get the vaccine

The vaccine will be rolled out through a COVID-19 Immunisation programme as supply becomes available. Rollout dates are identified but may change depending on when the vaccines arrive and what’s happening in our community, NZ and the region.

Vaccination Stations location

To start with, it is likely vaccines will be given to the general public at Rarotonga Hospital and at Hospitals or Health Centres in the Pa Enua. TMO will confirm if any changes to venues and will issue vaccination times and groups closer to the dates.

Border control

Airports

As of 17 May 2021, Cook Islands and New Zealand has established two-way quarantine free travel bubble under a Quarantine-Free travel (QFT) arrangement. Meaning travellers outside of New Zealand seeking entrance into the Cook Islands will need to stay in New Zealand for 14 consecutive days prior to departure.

For more information, please refer to Travel Information and FAQ’s for New Zealand – Cook Islands, read the joint Press Release or visit our travel page. 

Te Marae Ora staff are based at the airport to conduct international exit health screening for passengers flying to New Zealand, and health screening for international arrivals from New Zealand and domestic departures to the Pa Enua (Outer Islands). Travellers to the Northern Group Islands are required to return a negative COVID-19 test 24 to 48 priors prior to departure.

Seaports

The Cook Islands sea ports are closed to all yachts, cruise ships and leisure crafts since March 2020. 

Te Marae Ora staff are based at the seaport to conduct exit health screening for passengers travelling to the Pa Enua (Outer Islands). Travellers to the Northern Group Islands are required to return a negative COVID-19 test 24 to 48 priors prior to departure.

Testing

There are two types of tests to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19: 1) RT-PCR and 2) Serology. 

RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) tests are the gold standard for COVID-19 testing. Samples are collected in two ways: nasopharyngeal (via the nose) swabs or oropharyngeal (via the mouth) swabs. The PCR test detects genetic material from the virus, the RNA – if it is present, you may receive a positive test result indicating infection.

Serology tests are conducted using your blood sample. It detects antibodies in your body and checks your immune response toward COVID-19. A positive serology test result may indicate past infection. A serology test is not diagnostic, but useful for surveillance. 

Laboratory testing for COVID-19 involves a mixture of in-country testing, and sending swabs to New Zealand reference laboratories for analysis. You can only receive a test if it is ordered by a clinician at Te Marae Ora. If you are travelling to the Pa Enua (Outer Islands) or overseas and require a COVID-19 test, please contact Rarotonga Hospital Laboratory on +682 22664. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 is a new respiratory illness. It is caused by a virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on 12 March 2020.

Common symptoms include a new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, cold-like symptoms (such as sneezing and runny nose), and a loss of smell, with or without fever (>38°C). 

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19, is spread through the following modes: 1) large droplet spread; 2) aerosalised spread (for example coughing and sneezing); and 3) contact with respiratory secretions (for example contaminated surfaces).

You can become infected through direct contact with infected droplets released through coughing, sneezing, talking, singing or even hugging others. If infected droplets land on a surface or object, you can become infected by putting your hand on the contaminated surface/object and touching your face, mouth or nose.

  • COVID-19 tests are available for free at community-based testing centres in Auckland.
  • Please contact your usual GP in New Zealand for further information regarding testing centre. If you do not have an Auckland based GP, please contact Te Marae Ora on email: tmo.exemptions@cookislands.gov.ck
  • When you present for your test, ensure you have a mobile number and email address so that the test results can be sent to your phone and/or forward the results to Te Marae Ora on email: tmo.exemptions@cookislands.gov.ck.
  • If you require further assistance contact your GP. It will be the responsibility of the traveller to make the necessary arrangements and cover any associated cost with undertaking COVID-19 testing prior to departure
  • As soon as possible, noting that results may not be available for one to three days.
  • COVID-19 tests must be arranged within 96 hours of your flight departing Auckland.
  • No.
  • If you know you will not be receiving the results of your COVID-19 test prior to your check-in, please contact Te Marae Ora directly by either; email: tmo.exemptions@cookislands.gov.ck or Phone: Cook Islands +682 29 110
  • You cannot travel directly to the Cook Islands from Australia (or any other country). You will be required to stay in New Zealand for 14 days.
  •  
  • Please check the New Zealand Government Managed Isolation and Quarantine website for applicable charges to enter their managed isolation facilities. https://www.miq.govt.nz/
  • Once Te Marae Ora has received the results of your COVID-19 test result (negative), your details will be communicated to Immigration Cook Islands who will provide final approval for you to travel to the Cook Islands.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 is a new respiratory illness. It is caused by a virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on 12 March 2020.

Common symptoms include a new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, cold-like symptoms (such as sneezing and runny nose), and a loss of smell, with or without fever (>38°C). 

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19, is spread through the following modes: 1) large droplet spread; 2) aerosalised spread (for example coughing and sneezing); and 3) contact with respiratory secretions (for example contaminated surfaces).

You can become infected through direct contact with infected droplets released through coughing, sneezing, talking, singing or even hugging others. If infected droplets land on a surface or object, you can become infected by putting your hand on the contaminated surface/object and touching your face, mouth or nose.

  • COVID-19 tests are available for free at community-based testing centres in Auckland.
  • Please contact your usual GP in New Zealand for further information regarding testing centre. If you do not have an Auckland based GP, please contact Te Marae Ora on email: tmo.exemptions@cookislands.gov.ck
  • When you present for your test, ensure you have a mobile number and email address so that the test results can be sent to your phone and/or forward the results to Te Marae Ora on email: tmo.exemptions@cookislands.gov.ck.
  • If you require further assistance contact your GP. It will be the responsibility of the traveller to make the necessary arrangements and cover any associated cost with undertaking COVID-19 testing prior to departure
  • As soon as possible, noting that results may not be available for one to three days.
  • You cannot travel directly to the Cook Islands from Australia (or any other country). You will be required to stay in New Zealand for 14 days.
  • Please check the New Zealand Government COVID-19 website for more international travel information.