COVID-19

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

0 active cases of COVID-19 in the Cook Islands

Getting a COVID-19 test

In the recent change of alert levels, Te Marae Ora – Ministry of health will be conducting COVID-19 tests on recent New Zealand arrivals. This includes  passengers that arrived on the 11 – 16 August. Testing stations are located at the Tupapa Outpatient, Ngatangiia Puna, Blackrock Puna and Constitution Park Avarua. Once you arrive on the testing sites, all public health measures are to be followed:

  • Wear a mask if able
  • Physical distance
  • Wash and sanitize hands
  • Keep coughing and sneezing etiquette
  • Avoid touching your face.
For more information contact the contact tracing team Ph: 57481, 57482, 57486, and 56199.

How to get your COVID-19 test results

Please be advised, all those who are awaiting the result of their COVID-19 test taken in Rarotonga from Tuesday 17 August 2021 can now call directly to check progress.

Contact Te Marae Ora (TMO) representatives on the following numbers:

  • 56199
  • 57481
  • 57482
  • 57486
  • 29664
  • 29110 ext 717

We ask everyone to be patient when calling through and appreciate your cooperation to keep our visitors of interest updated.

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 together to get all eligible Cook Island residents vaccinated. The vaccine will be free to Cook Islands residents only. The COVID-19 vaccination will be free of charge and completely voluntary. 

What vaccines will be available

COVID-19 vaccines that is made available to the Cook Islands is Pfizer. More information on the vaccine can be found below:

Who can get a vaccine?

You can get a free vaccine if you are a resident of the Cook Islands or hold a work permit to work here. The vaccine is also recommended for persons from 15 to 12 years of age but a consent form is required from the parents or caregivers of the child. Any information collected will not be used for immigration purposes. We are expecting enough vaccines for the rest of the eligible people of the Cook Islands. The vaccine is not recommended for people with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine and they should not take it. 

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. 

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

The vaccines will be given to the general public at Rarotonga Hospital. TMO will confirm if any changes to venues and will issue vaccination times and groups closer to the dates.

Medical exemption

Those who are not able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to medical reasons must be exempted. To apply for an exemption you must fill out a Medical Exemption application, and email the completed application to covidvacmedexemption@cookislands.gov.ck . Your application will be processed within 10 working days. 

Digital Vaccination Certificate

What is a Digital Covid- 19 Vaccination Certificate? 

It is valid digital document that serves as proof that you have been fully vaccinated. To ensure all persons whom have been vaccinated  can provide a valid form of proof digitally. This can only be done via a Digital Vaccination Certificate that can be stored/saved on any of your devices electronically.

This certificate can then be utilized for Travel and other circumstances that may require you to verify your vaccination status.

In order for the Digital Vaccination Certificate to be valid and verified against your Bio data – the records must match either your Passport Name and/or your Birth Certificate.

What is required?

  • The Patient Name is to be updated to reflect the Passport Name as  verified on the Passport Bio page.
  • For those that do not have a Passport , you must produce a Birth Certificate for verification.

What must be submitted?

  1. Scanned copy of either your passport bio page or birth certificate
  2. Save documents with the following formats:
    • Save Image in this format – *.jpg or *.pdf
      Passport: FullName_PP.jpg or FullName_PP.pdf { Example: mickeymouse_PP.jpg}
    • Birth Certificate:  Fullname_BC.jpg or Fullname_BC.pdf { Example: mickeymouse_BC.jpg}

What to do Next?

  1. Online: Go to UPDATEMYNAME Online Form and fill in the online form details before uploading a scanned copy of your passport bio page or birth certificate. Documents should be saved as what is required above.
  2. Email: Send a scanned copy of your passport bio page or birth certificate (saved and named as above) to TMO.UPDMYNAME@COOKISLANDS.GOV.CK
  3. In person in Rarotonga: Take a copy of your passport bio page or birth certificate to either Rarotonga Hospital, Tupapa Community Health Centre or your local Puna clinic. If you are unable to take a copy of the original, a copy/scan will be taken, and your original document will be handed to you.
  4. In person in the Pa Enua: Take a copy of your passport bio page or birth certificate to your local hospital.  Again, if you are unable to take a copy of the original, a copy/scan will be taken, and your original document will be handed to you.

Should you have any further queries, please send an email to – tmo.updmyname@cookislands.gov.

High Risk Premises

A high risk premises is defined as one that has 4 walls and a roof, regardless of how many windows or doors it has.

The following premises are considered high risk:

  • Close proximity businesses such as hairdressers, beauty salons and tattoo parlours
  • Enclosed Cafés and Restaurants and, if part of the Café or Restaurant is enclosed, the enclosed part
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Gyms
  • Cinemas
  • Galleries
  • Churches
  • A School Hall if 100 or more children are expected to be inside the hall at the applicable time
  • Banks
  • Enclosed retail premises and, if part of retail premises is enclosed, the enclosed part
  • Enclosed office spaces open to the public
  • Any other premises specified as high risk by the Secretary of Health

Everyone is encouraged to be aware of the restrictions that may be applicable to enter a high risk premises.

A high risk premises can choose to only allow fully vaccinated people to enter.

They must clearly display that evidence of vaccination is required for entry.

Evidence of vaccination includes:

  • A Te Marae Ora Vaccination certificate.
  • A Te Marae Ora Vaccine card.
  • Or a valid My Vaccine Pass issued by New Zealand Government.

Alternatively, if a high-risk premises chooses to allow anyone to enter the premises, they must comply with the following requirements:

  • The number of people in the premises at any one time is limited to 100 people excluding staff.
  • Everyone on the premises must wear a face mask.
  • Everyone must observe the 1-meter physical distance rule.

No entry restrictions apply to the following premises as they are considered essential services.

However, some service providers may impose additional public health measures.

The following premises are not considered high risk:

  • Supermarkets
  • Petrol Stations
  • Dairies or grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Schools or other Educational Institutions
  • Court or Tribunals
Enforcement

A Constable or Health Officer may take any action (including entry into premises) to ensure that these regulations are being complied with. View the COVID-19 Act 2020.

Events and Gatherings

View updated Ministerial order concerning private and public events gathering and what restrictions. Here

Entry requirements (vaccination, face masks, etc) into the Gathering or Event is determined whether it is held at a high risk premises. (see High Risk Premises above).

A person responsible for any Gathering or Event that expects to have 100 people or more in attendance must have the following contact tracing systems in place:

  1. Have a CookSafe tag-in station or a manual contact sheet available in 1 or more prominent places.
  2. Have processes in place to ensure that every person aged 16 years and over who enters the gathering or event (including persons working at the gathering or event) scans at the CookSafe tag-in station or enters their details into a manual contact record.

This applies whether it is a public or private event and takes place either indoors or outdoors.

All manual contact sheet records must be kept for a period of 30 days and made available to the Ministry of Health on request.

For more information about CookSafe and to get your Gathering or Event registered, contact CookSafe on 20925 or email support@cooksafe.info

What defines a Gathering?

Gatherings are situations where people are intermingling in a group and remain closer than 2 metres from each other.

Gatherings include (but not limited to):

  • a gathering to undertake voluntary or not-for-profit sporting, recreational, social, or cultural activities
  • a gathering to undertake community club activities
  • a faith-based gathering
  • a funeral
  • a gathering held in a defined space or premises of a workplace (other than a vehicle in use as part of a public transport service) that have been hired for the exclusive use of the gathering by a person (other than the person who manages or controls the defined space or premises)

This excludes a gathering for the purpose of a business or service:

  • at an office workplace
  • as part of its ordinary retail operations
  • at a hearing of a court or tribunal
  • as part of its ordinary operations at an education entity

What defines an Event?

An Event is any activity organized by a business or service where entry is controlled (whether through ticketing, fees, registration, or any other means) that is held at:

  • Any commercial premises or private premises (whether indoors or outdoors)
  • Publicly-owned premises hired for the purpose of the activity
  • An outdoor area where a group of customers and clients is accompanied or supervised by a worker providing services to that group (for example, a guided tour).

This includes normal operations at cinemas, theatres, stadiums, concert venues, conference venues, and private galleries; but excludes any activity at a private dwelling house.

Border control

Airports

Following New Zealand’s decision to move into Red, the Cook Islands has decided to only accept vaccinated persons into the country for the next month. Read full media release hereOutbound travel to New Zealand remains unaffected.

For more information on international and domestic travel, please refer to our travel page or visit the Cook Islands COVID-19 website here – WWW.covid19.gov.ck

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). 

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.