Health resources and information on COVID-19
There continues to be no case of COVID-19 in the Cook Islands.
Cook Islands residents and permit holders may enter the country provided they provide a negative COVID-19 test result 96 hours prior to departure.
Travellers to New Zealand are required to complete 14 days managed isolation. Visit www.miq.govt.nz for information.
Te Marae Ora has issued 10 public health tips to keep you safe from infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
The Cook Islands borders are currently closed to all travellers unless there is an exemption provided (in writing) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. There is only one flight a week to the Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands sea ports are closed to all yachts, cruise ships and leisure crafts since March 2020.
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.
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.