Cook Islanders and Cook Islands residents caught in New Zealand when travel to their homeland was suspended about a month ago will start hearing today when they can go home.
Cook Islands officials will begin contacting people who have registered to travel to Rarotonga today and the first cohort will be required to enter supervised quarantine in a designated managed isolation facility in Auckland tomorrow.
The quarantine will last for two weeks, and towards the end of that fortnight they will undergo a COVID-19 test and medical clearance before being allowed to fly to Rarotonga.
On arrival in Rarotonga the travellers will be required to undergo a further two weeks of supervised quarantine and another COVID-19 test before being allowed back into their homes and the community at large.
The Cook Islands is one of only a handful of countries which is so far free of COVID-19 and is determined to keep the virus out. Based on information regarding the dangerous and aggressive behaviour of the virus, Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health has established the current public health measures to ensure the Cook Islands remains a COVID-19 free zone.
The Secretary of Health for the Cook Islands – Dr Josephine Aumea Herman – is in New Zealand to oversee the repatriation process. She says, “I appreciate that some people have become frustrated waiting for the opportunity to return home. But I hope they also realise that back home the whole country has been working very hard to ensure that our people have a safe place to return to; and that we have been putting in place procedures to protect – as much as we can – our vulnerable population and to shore up our health system for the good of all our citizens. We’re all in this together.”
The first repatriation flight is scheduled to depart Auckland on Saturday 9th May, arriving into Rarotonga on the afternoon of Friday 8th May. There are potentially two repatriation flights planned and more details will be released as they are firmed up.
For up to date information visit www.covid19.gov.ck
ENDS: Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486