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COVID-19 - Cook Islands Response
Cook Islands Confirmed Cases of COVID-19: 0

Requiring medical advice or attention?

Call 0800 1800 or 0800 1801 or 0800 1802.

All calls to the Healthline are free of charge.

This website has been created to be the official and direct source for Cook Islands COVID-19 updates. These challenging times require all of us to work collaboratively together.

COVID-19 updates

TIME TO BE ALERT, VIGILANT AND PLAY SAFE

At a Cabinet meeting held this afternoon Tuesday 11 August 2020 the decision was made to implement the Te Marae Ora Easing Border Restrictions Matrix, a border control public health mechanism. As per this Border Control Matrix passengers arriving on Friday's (14TH August) flight will need to have undergone a New Zealand exit medical clearance screening and COVID-19 test - critical steps to ensuring we do not import the virus. On arrival in Rarotonga passengers will need to undergo Supervised Quarantine and Medical Clearance screening and a testing regime. The Supervised Quarantine will take place in a residence of the passengers' choice, and their local Puna will be monitoring them. The Prime Minister and Cabinet noted this measure is in place as of today, but that as this is a fluid situation, further responses will reflect developments in New Zealand as they come to hand. Cabinet will be briefed daily for the remainder of this week. For more click here

TASKFORCE TO PROGRESS JOINT WORK WITH NEW ZEALAND ON QUARANTINE FREE TRAVEL

Noting keen public interest in the establishment of a Cook Islands - New Zealand 'air bridge', the Cook Islands Government through Cabinet this week mandated Cook Islands officials to rapidly progress discussions with New Zealand officials on an arrangement to facilitate two way quarantine-free travel between the Cook Islands and New Zealand. Read more »

THE COOK ISLANDS PROMISE: SAFEGUARDING OUR ISLAND COMMUNITIES AND OUR VISITORS

The Cook Islands is preparing to open its tourism industry for business. Vigilance is paramount as Government, the tourism industry and wider community prepare to be as practical as possible. The Cook Islands Promise is our joint commitment to protect all Cook Islands residents, and international visitors, from the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus widely known as COVID-19. Read more »

CONTACT TRACING SYSTEM ESTABLISHED

The CookSafe contact tracing pilot which launched on the 19th June will provide important insights to strengthen the Cook Islands COVID-19 contact tracing processes and protocols, says Secretary of Health, Dr Josephine Aumea Herman. CookSafe will complement the World Health Organisation developed Go.Data software disease outbreak investigation tool for case and contact management that Te Marae Ora is launching next week. "Our priority is to keep our residents and visitors safe," says Dr Herman.

While COVID-19 is the focus of our efforts, these systems will apply to future public health threats including dengue. This is an important learning opportunity as we begin reopening to the outside world.

The CookSafe pilot is a collaborative initiative between Government and the Private Sector Taskforce with Te Marae Ora leading.

For more information on CookSafe click here. Local businesses can sign up to be a CookSafe premises online here.

Code YELLOW advice to the public

Health officials are encouraging anyone requiring medical advice or attention to call 0800 1800 or 0800 1801 or 0800 1802. All calls to the Healthline are free of charge.

Continue Physical Distancing

Continue Physical Distancing

Please practice physical distancing at all times

Wash your hands

Maintain Good Hygiene

Wash hands regularly with soap and water

Read More »

Sanitise

Sanitise

Sanitise your hands regularly

Coughing and sneezing

Coughing and Sneezing

Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm

Wear a mask

Wear a Mask

Consider wearing a face mask if you have a cough or are in crowded spaces

Don't Touch Your Face

Don't Touch Your Face

Avoid touching your face, eyes & mouth with unwashed hands

Self Quarantine

Self Quarantine

Stay home if you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or sore throat

Cooperate with Authorites

Cooperate with Authorites

Please adhere to public health messages and measures

Read More »

Resources

Resources & Forms

We have downloadable resources in both English and Maori

Read More »

Watch Live Announcement from Prime Minister, Hon. Henry Puna | filmed 3 June 2020 »
Watch in English | Watch in Cook Islands Maori

Latest Updates

Date
Media Release
Source
8 June 2020
Opening up with Caution
HEALTH
30 April 2020
COVID-19 Amendment Act 2020
PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES
29 April 2020
It's Flu Shot Time
HEALTH
29 April 2020
Travel to the Cook Islands
HEALTH
14 April 2020
Kia Orana Community Launched
TOURISM
5 April 2020
Support Package for Growers and Home Gardeners
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
1 April 2020
Ministerial Order 1
HEALTH
31 March 2020
COVID-19 Act 2020
PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES
24 March 2020
Code Yellow Q and A's
HEALTH
16 March 2020
Travel Advisory
MFAI
15 March 2020
Private Sector Taskforce
PRIVATE SECTOR TASKFORCE
29 February 2020
MFEM COVID-19
MFEM
Load More

Important Information

Parliament has passed the following Acts:

Ministerial Orders, Executive Council Orders and Ministry of Health Regulations:

Economic Response Plan Phase I

The Economic Response Plan was aimed at supporting local business, and the livelihoods of those most affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 in our community. Key policies included:

  • Wage subsidies to help ensure that employers have the ability to keep their staff on the payroll
  • Cash grants for businesses affected by COVID-19
  • A reduction in employer and employee CINSF contributions from 5% to 3%
  • A reduction in employer and employee CINSF contributions from 5% to 3%
  • An unemployment benefit to be provided to all individuals who have become unemployed due to COVID-19
  • School closure support payment of $100 per child for each fortnight that school holidays are extended

For more information click here

Economic Response Plan Phase II

On July 1, the Cook Islands Government's Covid-19 Economic Response Plan (ERP) enters Phase II - a $76 million plan providing comprehensive financial support to carry the country towards a post-COVID-19 future.
Government has recognized the need to continue financial support, while providing economic stimulus for the mid and long-term. As a result, a range of measures are included in Phase II that fit into three themes; Lifeline, Recovery, and Transformation.

For more information click here

Lifeline - Supporting Livelihoods
Government will continue vital financial support in the short term to households and businesses through an increased wage subsidy, extension of unemployment benefits, an increase in the tax free threshold, reduction in CINSF contributions, Te Aponga Uira discounts, and the hibernation of interest repayments for individual and commercial debt holders.

  • WAGE SUBSIDY EXTENDED
    Extension of the Wage Subsidy for eligible businesses until September at an increased rate of $320 per week for full-time staff.
  • INTEREST HIBERNATION PROGRAM
    'Hibernation' of interest repayments for one year for individual and business debt holders, removing the interest burden with the deferred interest to be repaid under more favourable economic circumstances.
  • INCREASE IN TAX-FREE THRESHOLD
    Increase of the tax-free threshold for individuals from the current $11,000 per year to $12,800 on July 1 and to $14,600 from 1 January 2021.
  • UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT EXTENDED
    Extension of the unemployment benefit measure with re-training initiatives
  • EMERGENCY HARDSHIP FUND
    Establishment of an Emergency Hardship Fund to help families get back on their feet.
  • SUPERANNUATION CONTRIBUTIONS FURTHER REDUCED
    Extension of the current reduction in superannuation contributions for both employees and employers for another 3 -months with a further reduction to one percent.
  • TE APONGA UIRA DISCOUNTS
    Coordination with Te Aponga Uira for further electricity discounts to eligible households and businesses.
  • BUSINESS CONTINUITY CREDIT FACILITY
    Access to low interest short-term loans to businesses.

Recovery - Kick-Starting Growth
Based on the pandemic's current trajectory, most indicators point to a gradual reopening of the country's borders. Government recognises the need to ensure the country is prepared for the day visitors return, but that even when that occurs, growth will not be immediate. With that in mind, Phase II includes a number of measures focusing on the need for economic assistance in the mid-term. An ongoing skills shortage is addressed with a training subsidy for eligible businesses, and fees are being waived for a number of programmes and certificates at the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute and University of the South Pacific. Businesses will also be given incentives to invest through new tax measures and reduced-interest long-term loans.

  • BUSINESS TRAINING SUBSIDY
    A training subsidy and grant funding for interested businesses.
  • 'FEES FREE'
    An initiative to encourage our workforce to upskill, including a waiver of fees during Semester 2 at the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute and a select number of certificates offered by the University of the South Pacific between June and December 2020.
  • ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION
    For businesses, tax measures such as accelerated depreciation to encourage investment in new productive equipment, buildings, and other capital works.
  • BUSINESS GROWTH LOAN PROGRAM
    Reduced interest longer-term loans and government-guaranteed loans to reduce finance costs for investment.

Transformation - Moving To A Smarter, Greener Economy

The Cook Islands has been heavily reliant on tourism, which has contributed to a decade of strong economic growth. Yet Government recognises a strong economy is a dynamic one, and there's no easy path to diversification. Government is introducing several initiatives in Phase II that provide incentives for the private sector to pursue opportunities and participate in the coming economic transformation. Initiatives include SMART Economy and SMART AgriTech, which provide cash grants, low interest loans, tax credits, and other tools to take part in large-scale transformations set for the ICT and agriculture sectors. In addition, the Green Economy Incentive offers enhanced accelerated tax depreciation to encourage investment in environmentally sustainable assets. Combined with recent and ongoing investments in infrastructure, such as the high-speed internet Manatua Cable, these measures - which run through to December 2021 - provide a foundation for businesses to help build the economy of the future.

  • SMART ECONOMY INITIATIVE
    The soon-to-be online Manatua Cable and reform of the telecommunications sector are catalysts for a commercial ICT transformation. This initiative will provide a mix of grants, lower interest loans and tax credits to support commercial business ventures providing innovative ICT applications and services to business and consumers.
  • SMART AGRITECH
    This initiative aims to foster innovation and productivity in the commercial agricultural sector by providing grant funding and equipment to encourage investment and improve commercial viability and economic sustainability.
  • GREEN ECONOMY INCENTIVE
    Enhanced accelerated tax depreciation to encourage investment in environmentally sustainable assets with a focus on greening our economy.

Travellers

Currently Cook Islanders and valid permit holders can travel to the Cook Islands. No visitor permits are being issued at this time.
All travellers need to have been in NZ for at least 30 days prior to onward travel to the Cook Islands.
Persons currently in Australia need to make their way to NZ in the first instance. NZ has a compulsory managed isolation for 14 days and the Cook Islands require a total stay in NZ of 30 days.
Travellers need to show evidence that they are a Cook Islander by descent or hold a valid permit.

All intending travellers should in the first instance (before booking travel), send a request to [email protected] and include the following:

  • Copy of the bio-data page of each passport
  • Confirm Arrival Date in NZ
  • Confirm any travel to Australia or other countries outside of NZ
  • Any intention to travel to the outer islands
  • Any persons travelling that require an exemption i.e. does not meet the entry criteria as per travel advisory.

Immigration Cook Islands will check information provided with external agencies where required, so please be accurate.

Cook Islands Travel Advisory

Pa Enua/ Outer Island travel

  • Travel between the Pa Enua (Outer Islands) recommenced Monday, 20 April 2020

Immigration Policy for Permits

Your Local Puna

Household Flags Explained

Learn about the COVID-19 household flags used by your Puna to communicate important health messages.

Understanding the difference between a white, red, orange or yellow-coloured flag could one day be a matter of life and death. Te Marae Ora has developed the easy to follow system to keep people safe and alert to COVID-19 health risks in our community.

Flag: Orange
Orange
Orange is used to indicate the household has someone who is elderly or high risk (for example, they may have a non-communicable disease). Show you care by staying away. Older people are more likely to have underlying health issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, so it is especially important to follow the rules.
Flag: Yellow
Yellow
Yellow says the house is under supervised quarantine. Someone inside has been exposed to COVID-19. No visitors are permitted to a quarantined house. Quarantine separates people from others and restricts their movement if they have been exposed to an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, to see if they become sick.
Flag: Red
Red
Red is used to indicate a person in the household is a confirmed case of COVID-19. The house is under supervised isolation. It is critical you stay away. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, from people who are not sick.
Flag: White
White
White signals medical attention is required. If someone in your house needs a doctor or nurse, call your local Puna on the free call number and place a white coloured cloth somewhere visible from the road. It will help us find your house quickly.

Your Puna will provide flags when required. If you don't have a flag when you need one, make do with a t-shirt, pareu or sheet in the right colour.

 

Puna Contact Details

Puna Contact Details
PUNA/CONSTITUENCY
CONTACT NAME
ROLE
EMAILS
PHONE NUMBERS
PUAIKURA
Teremoana Ngatokorua
Chairman
[email protected]
 
Pare Rongokea Jnr
Co-Chairman
Vaipo Mataora
Chairman
[email protected]
 
Elizabeth Munro
EOC Coordinator
HON Minister Patrick Arioka
Chairman
[email protected]
 
Upokotiao Henry
EOC Coordinator
 
TAKITUMU
Hon. Selina Napa
Puna Lead
[email protected]
 
Ali Macquarie
Coordinator
Ina Tararo
Chairman
[email protected]
 
Paul Maoate
Co-Chairman
Takapi Kora
Chairman
[email protected]
 
Tukurangi Hosking Jnr
Co-Chairman
[email protected]
TE-AU-O-TONGA
HON Minister Mac Mokoroa
Chairman
[email protected]
 
 
 
 
Terry Utanga
Puna Rep (National)
[email protected]
 
Apii Pakitoa
Secretary
Kopurei Anguna
COVID 19 Chair
[email protected]
 
Avele Simiona
Co Lead
Nooroa Roi
Team Leader
[email protected]
 
Tereapii Charlie
Assistant

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS DISEASE?

Coronavirus can make humans and animals sick. Some can cause illnesses similar to the common cold and others cause more serious illnesses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, diarrhoea and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.

THE THREE STAGES OF COVID-19 COOK ISLANDS EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLAN:

BLUE: Preparation and Readiness (Delay entry of disease)
YELLOW: Alert (Delay widespread disease transmission)
RED: Activation (Mitigate impact of disease)
GREEN: Post-Event (Recovery)

FEELING WORRIED, ANXIOUS AND UNSETTLED?

It's normal to worry, but sometimes our worries can get out of control. The right knowledge and a little planning can help prepare yourself and your family.
Take Control: Follow the advice given by Te Marae Ora
Be Flexible: You may have to change plans
Be Prepared: Have a plan for your family
Look out for each other: Be kind and take care of each other

If it is all getting out of control for you, please talk to someone - call 25664.

WHAT DO I DO IF I AM FEELING SICK? WHO DO I CONTACT?

For Health-related questions or concerns, please contact the Healthline on 0800 1800; 0800 1801; 0800 1802 or go direct to your Puna.

WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE MY COOK ISLANDS STATUS STAMP IN MY PASSPORT?

If your birth place on your passport is in the Cook Islands, you do not require a Cook Islands Status stamp at this time.
If your birth place is outside of the Cook Islands, we may need more information, please email: [email protected] and we will assist you.

WHAT IF MY PERMIT EXPIRED IN THE LAST 3 MONTHS, WHILE OUTSIDE OF THE COOK ISLANDS?

You must have a valid permit for travel and entry into the Cook Islands.
Please email: immigra[email protected], your passport bio data page and most recent permit stamp and we will assist you.

HOW DO I BOOK FLIGHTS TO THE COOK ISLANDS?

All intending travellers should in the first instance (before booking travel), send a request to [email protected] and include the following:

  • Copy of the bio-data page of each passport
  • Confirm Arrival Date in NZ
  • Confirm any travel to Australia or other countries outside of NZ
  • Any intention to travel to the outer islands
  • Any persons travelling that require an exemption i.e. does not meet the entry criteria as per travel advisory.

Immigration Cook Islands will check information provided with external agencies where required, so please be accurate.

I HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED MY INTENTION TO TRAVEL TO THE COOK ISLANDS WITH TMO AND MFAI, DO I NEED TO RESUBMIT?

No, we have the registration list and you will be contacted by MFAI within the next week regarding your return travel.
No new registrations are being accepted.

WHAT IF I AM A COOK ISLANDER WHO WANTS TO COME FOR A TEMPORARY VISIT?

Whilst all Cook Islanders are welcome we would discourage temporary visits unless necessary. All Cook Islanders who are seeking to come for a temporary visit will need to comply with NZ Government travel advisory and rules relating to NZ departure and entry.

DO I HAVE TO QUARANTINE IN THE COOK ISLANDS?

Current advice from Te Marae Ora (TMO) is that supervised quarantine is not required. This situation is fluid and may change based on COVID-19 overseas trends.

WHAT HEALTH MEASURES DO I NEED TO UNDERTAKE BEFORE LEAVING NZ?

NZ currently does not have any community transmission of COVID 19. People are required to spend 30 days in NZ prior to entry into the Cook Islands. NZ currently has health measures in place for those departing. This is a requirement of NZ and will need to be followed by all travellers. The Cook Islands does not have any specific requirements for those who have been residents in NZ for 30 days. This situation is fluid and may change based on NZ's COVID-19 trends.

I HAVEN'T BEEN IN NZ FOR 30 DAYS, CAN I STILL TRAVEL TO THE COOK ISLANDS?

Unless you have received an exemption from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration you will not be permitted entry into the Cook Islands.
If you are seeking an exemption you must contact immigration at least 7 days in advance of travel. It is recommended that you do not book any travel prior to the expiry of 30 days unless you have received an exemption.
Exemptions will only be given in exceptional circumstances.

WILL I BE ABLE TO TRAVEL TO THE OUTER ISLANDS ON MY ARRIVAL INTO RAROTONGA?

There are currently health checks in place at the domestic departure gate.

WHAT IF MY PARTNER OR SPOUSE IS NOT A COOK ISLANDER OR PERMIT HOLDER, WILL THEY BE ALLOWED TO TRAVEL WITH ME?

All Non Cook islanders need to be in possession of a permit to travel. If a spouse or partner has been entering the Cook Islands as a visitor, they are required to get an entry permit approval in advance from MFAI.

COVID-19 Radio Talkback show

Mon-Fri 12-1pm CKT on Radio Cook Islands - Listen here

IMPORTANT NOTE

Any person who is undertaking any international travel does so at their own risk and must be aware of travel restrictions imposed by other Countries. Cook Islands Government does not control the Immigration and entry requirements of other countries and will not be responsible for any travellers who fail to comply with these travel advisories. Also be mindful that given the nature of COVID 19, border restrictions may change at any time.

For further information please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration at:

Phone: (+682) 29 347 or
Email: [email protected]

Disclaimer- These Frequently Asked Questions are a guide only. It should not be used as a substitute for legislation or legal advice. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Cook Islands Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Government of the Cook Islands are not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information presented here, or for any errors or omissions.