Good news for the Cook Islands. From 21 January passengers will be able to resume quarantine-free travel to New Zealand. Given the country’s COVID-19 free status and strict health and border protocols, people can now enter New Zealand from the Cook Islands without quarantining.
To be eligible, people entering New Zealand from the Cook Islands must not have been outside of the Cook Islands, nor had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days, have any COVID-19 symptoms, or be awaiting a COVID-19 test result.
Strict protocols will be in place to separate Cook Island arrivals from other travelers at Auckland International Airport. New Zealand public health officials will also undertake random body temperature checks of passengers.
Before passengers return to the Cook Islands they will need evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 96 hours of their flight departing, and to complete the exit health clearance process at Auckland International Airport.
This does not change the criteria for entry into the Cook Islands which is limited to Cook Islanders and current holders of Cook Islands’ work and residency permits who meet Cook Islands health entry requirements.
In December 2020 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown agreed on an ‘Arrangement to Facilitate Quarantine-Free Travel between the Cook Islands and New Zealand’.
Both Prime Ministers and their Cabinets instructed officials to work together to put in place all measures required before recommencement of two-way quarantine-free travel in the first quarter of 2021.
The arrangement recognises the special ties between New Zealand and the Cook Islands.