The Cook Islands is in Code Yellow (Alert Phase) of the national emergency response plan to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). On 16 April 2020, we were declared COVID-19 free. While this is significant, it is critical to maintain and practise good public health measures. As a result, Te Marae Ora must remain in a state of preparedness and readiness – poised to respond rapidly to any threat of 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.
Register with Immigration Cook Islands on email: email@example.com. Registrations close at 11:59pm Wednesday (NZ time) prior to your planned flight departure.
This includes COVID-19 testing within 96 hours of departure from Auckland and exit health clearance at Auckland International Airport.
Travellers to New Zealand are required to complete 14 days managed isolation. Visit www.miq.govt.nz for information.
Basic hygiene measures at home and work is the best defence to protect yourself and those who live with you. These hygiene measures include:
Health requirements at the border include providing a negative COVID-19 test result within 96 hours of your planned departure from Auckland, and undergoing exit health clearance at Auckland International Airport.
The Cook Islands Government decision to ease border restrictions is informed by the best available public health evidence provided by Te Marae Ora. Border restrictions are tightened or relaxed depending on basic epidemiological principles and understanding disease transmission patterns. As COVID-19 is still uncontrolled overseas, border measures outlined in the matrix are designed to be flexible and responsive to the disease transmission patterns of other countries. New Zealand has been used as an example in the matrix.
CookSafe is a contact tracing programme to assist health officials. Registration is voluntary, and users are issued a CookSafe card that contains a unique QR code. Venues participating in CookSafe will be provided with a scanner. The scanner automatically sends information (date, time, location) to a secure and encrypted database accessible to authorised health officials.
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.
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.
Practising good public health measures such as washing your hands regularly, keeping physical distance from others (at least 2 metres), staying home when unwell and covering your coughs and sneezes, is the best line of defence against the virus.
It is important that you avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, being in enclosed spaces (such as waiting rooms) with others who may be sick, and avoid hugging, kissing and shaking hands with others.
No. Healthy children are considered lower risk compared to those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cancer or diabetes) and the elderly.
There are four Codes in the Cook Islands emergency response to COVID-19.
Despite having no COVID-19 cases, the Cook Islands remains in Code Yellow due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 outside our borders.
No. There is no antiviral treatment or vaccine available at this stage.
Isolation is the separation of people who are ill or have symptoms of illness, from others in the population.
Quarantine is the separation of people (who are well) from others in the population, because they may have been exposed to the virus or infection.