New Zealanders will soon be able to travel to the Cook Islands without having to quarantine for two weeks there – or on their return home.
The announcement has just been made public.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Cook Islands counterpart Mark Brown have instructed officials to continue working together to put in place all measures required to safely recommence two-way quarantine-free travel in the first quarter of next year.
“The arrangement recognises the special ties between New Zealand and the Cook Islands. It will allow people to travel more easily between our two countries, while acknowledging that the priority remains to protect our populations from Covid-19,” Ardern said.
Brown welcomed the progress, noting that the free movement of people between New Zealand and the Cook Islands was central to the countries’ close relationship and integral to the Cook Islands’ recovery from the impact ofCovid-19.
“This arrangement is the next step towards resuming many aspects of life in the Cook Islands that have been disrupted by Covid-19, including access to health and education, and reuniting family and friends,” Brown said.
First step now – Cook Island arrivals to skip quarantine
The Cook Island remains one of the few countries around the world and the Pacific region to remain totally free of Covid-19.
As a result, the first step to the new agreement will involve New Zealand officials working to implement a quarantine-free access into New Zealand for anyone travelling from the Cook Islands.
This will be the first time anyone arriving from a different country will not have to carry out the mandatory 14-day managed isolation.
That first step is said to be part of what will be a “phased approach”, a statement said.
Ardern said: “Quarantine-free access for travellers from the Cook Islands to New Zealand will provide for the movement of people for delivering essential services, while allowing officials to finalise preparations for a safe return to two-way quarantine-free travel.”
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