Questions & Answers for travellers to Rarotonga – 14 August 2020

Questions and answers for travellers to Rarotonga with information on what to do prior to departure from New Zealand and upon arrival to Rarotonga.

GENERAL

  • Washing your hands regularly (at least 20 seconds with soap) or using hand sanitiser
  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres from other people as much as possible, other than those in your home (the small group of people you are in supervised quarantine with)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm/elbow
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid hugs, kisses or shaking hands
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly

BEFORE TRAVEL TO RAROTONGA

You must do two things:

  1. Undergo a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your flight departing Auckland
  2. Complete health clearance at Auckland International Airport

Please see your usual GP for a health check if you feel unwell, and ensure you have adequate medicine supplies.

COVID-19 tests are available at community based testing centres in Auckland. Please contact your usual GP in New Zealand for further information regarding testing centres.

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 email.

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.

COVID-19 tests must be arranged within 72 hours of your flight departing Auckland.

No. If you will not be receiving the results of your COVID-19 test prior to your check-in, please contact TMO directly at the following;

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. 

New Zealand currently requires all arrivals to enter their managed isolation facilities for 14 days.

Please check the New Zealand COVID-19 website for applicable charges to enter their managed isolation facilities.

AT AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

When moving through the airport, please remain vigilant and maintain physical distancing as much as possible from other persons.

Exit health clearance services are clearly marked inside the departures terminal. This service is provided for all passengers departing Auckland for Rarotonga.

This involves a health questionnaire and temperature check undertaken by health officials. 

You will need to present a record of your test results (mobile, email, paper) before you undergo your exit health screen. Once you have obtained clearance, join the queue for check-in and proceed through customs to your boarding gate.

ON THE PLANE

It will be mandatory for all passengers to wear face masks at all times, during the flight and on arrival in Rarotonga. Face masks will be provided by flight attendants.

ON ARRIVAL IN RAROTONGA

Keep wearing your face mask until you reach your home.

Upon entering the arrivals hall, present your health arrivals declarations card to the health official. Should you require further health assistance, the health booth will be available.

After clearing immigration, customs and biosecurity checks, you will then go straight to the place where you will be undertaking your supervised quarantine.   

You will be transported to the place where you will be doing your supervised quarantine.  This transport will occur under the supervision of Te Marae Ora. You must follow the directions of officials at the airport.

SUPERVISED QUARANTINE

Supervised quarantine is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you and in the Cook Islands – your family, friends, and colleagues – from catching COVID-19. It means taking simple, public health measures to avoid close physical contact with other people as much as possible.

It is important to note supervised quarantine is a specific public health concept used to remove some people from others for a short period of time, to prevent, limit or mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 and its effects in the Cook Islands.

Your supervised quarantine will be governed by a Category Quarantine Order under the COVID-19 Act 2020.

You can do your supervised quarantine at home or any other acceptable dwelling. 

Any other person living in that dwelling will also be subject to supervised quarantine.

The place where you are doing your supervised quarantine will be marked with a yellow flag to allow monitoring by the local Puna and to alert others that the dwelling is under quarantine restrictions.

Quarantine is for 14 days from the time you arrive in the Cook Islands.  It starts at the airport.

The rules of supervised quarantine are set out in the category quarantine order which will be provided to persons who are subject of the order and include that: 

  • You will need to stay within the boundaries of your property at all times (and so will those living with you).
  • You will receive daily health checks during your stay. This is a vital process for your wellbeing and for the wellbeing and health of others around you. You are required to cooperate fully with health officials to ensure health checks can be completed effectively.
  • You must follow any further directions given by health officials.

Any breach of the quarantine requirements may result in prosecution and a term of imprisonment of up to 12 months or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

You may go outside your room or home but you must stay within the parameters of your private property/yard.

Any form of exercise is permitted provided this is within the confines of your private property.

No. You cannot leave your home.

You must arrange with family or friends to deliver food, water and other essential medicines to your property. Food, water, essential medicines and personal items should be dropped off at the edge of your property.

If you need assistance with having these items delivered to your property, please let the health official know during the daily health checks and other arrangements will be made.

Health officials will be available daily to assist you should you require medicines.

No. you cannot have family and friends visit you.

Food, water, essential medicines and personal items should be dropped off at the edge of your property.

Your emotional and mental health is important. It is normal to feel stressed or lonely, but there are some things you can do to feel better. Reach out to your usual support networks, like family and friends, and talk about how you feel. We also recommend keeping to a routine such as having regular mealtimes, bedtimes and exercising indoors.

If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 0800 1814, to talk with a trained counsellor.

No. The Cook Islands Government wants to keep the Pa Enua COVID-19 free.

Any person planning on travelling to the Pa Enua should arrange for somewhere to undertake their supervised quarantine in Rarotonga. Should you require assistance arranging somewhere to undertake supervised quarantine in Rarotonga, please contact TMO directly at the following;

You will be responsible for the cost of undergoing supervised quarantine in Rarotonga.

If you start feeling unwell – including with symptoms of fever, a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose or loss of smell – please remain in your home and contact health officials on 0800 1800 or 0800 1801.

Provided that you have tested negative for COVID-19 and you are not displaying any symptoms your quarantine will end after 14 days and you can move around freely.

If you test positive or start to show symptoms, then you may be subject to an Isolation Order and put into supervised isolation.

POSITIVE COVID-19 CASE

A risk assessment will be undertaken for you and any persons that have been residing with you or who might have come into close physical contact with you.

You and any other persons who are deemed to have come in close physical contact with you will be placed in supervised isolation in a facility that will be determined by TMO. Case and contact tracing procedures will follow.

TMO will advise and support you through this process

Should you develop COVID-19 symptoms and require hospitalisation, you will be transferred to Rarotonga Hospital.

You will be responsible for the cost of undergoing supervised isolation in your home in Rarotonga.

If you require hospitalisation, TMO will cover your hospitals costs (if you qualify).

AFTER SUPERVISED QUARANTINE

Contact 0800 1800 or 0800 1801 if you begin to feel unwell. The symptoms of COVID-19 are new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, coryza (head cold e.g. runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip), anosmia (loss of sense of smell). Some may experience symptoms such as only: fever, diarrhoea, headache, myalgia, nausea/vomiting, or confusion/irritability.

You can call emergency services on 999 if you have an emergency. If you need to call emergency services, please let them know you are currently in supervised quarantine in Rarotonga.

For all social welfare queries, call the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 29370 8am – 4pm Monday – Friday or email internalaffairs@cookislands.gov.ck