OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
HON MARK BROWN
GOVERNMENT OF THE COOK ISLANDS
PRIME MINISTER’S UPDATE RE BORDER OPENING
16 December 2021
Last month I announced that our country would re-open our air border from the 13
January 2022 (CKT).
That decision was based on a range of high-level advice from the Government’s
Border Easement Taskforce and data modelling experts in New Zealand. I said at
the time that this reopening would allow for two-way quarantine-free travel from New
Zealand and that there would be an eligibility criterion for travellers which would
include requiring them to be double-vaccinated and provide a negative COVID-19
test prior to travel.
Today I am able to tell you about the Cook Islands Covid-19 Safe Framework that
was approved by our Cabinet this week. These are the rules by which people will be
able to enter the Cook Islands once the border is reopened in mid-January. This
Framework will be enforceable under new regulations available to Te Marae Ora
Under the Safe Framework there will be three different groups of visitors able to
enter the country, each group will need to comply with its own particular set of rules.
The three groups are Tourists, Permit Holders and Cook Islanders or PRs.
All three groups must complete the TMO online form 96 hours before departure;
return a negative PCR covid test undertaken within 48 hours of departure and they
must have been in New Zealand for at least 10 days prior to entry into the Cook
In addition to the above, Group 1 (Tourists) may only enter the country if they are
fully vaccinated. There are no exceptions to this requirement. Consequently, children
under 12 years will not be able to enter the country unless and until they are
Those in Group 2 (Permit holders for work or residence) may enter the country if
they’re vaccinated. There are two exceptions to the vaccination requirement, firstly
for children aged under 12 and secondly for those aged over 12 who cannot be
vaccinated because of a medical exemption.
Those permitted entry under an exemption will be subject to certain additional public
health controls upon their arrival to the Cook Islands, for example, they will be
required to self-isolate at home for 5 days and undertake COVID tests.
Cook Islanders and Cook Islands Permanent Residents comprise Group 3.
Group 3 may enter the country regardless of their vaccination status, however, those
who are unvaccinated will be subject to certain additional public health controls upon
arrival in the country.
For example, Group 3 travellers aged 12 and over who are not vaccinated and do
not have a medical exemption must undergo 10 days in Managed Isolation and
Quarantine (MIQ) at their own cost and undertake 3 tests during that time.
If a minor (aged 12 – 17) in this group is travelling unaccompanied, a
caregiver/guardian will have to enter quarantine with them, and that cost will also
need to be paid for.
Group 3 travellers who have a medical exemption from vaccination must isolate at
home for 5 days upon arrival and undertake two tests during that time.
Children aged under 12 travelling with vaccinated adults (or adults exempt from
vaccination) or travelling unaccompanied, must isolate at home for 5 days upon
arrival, and undertake two tests.
Children aged under 12 and who are travelling with unvaccinated adults, must enter
MIQ with their families.
New Zealand will remain our only international gateway for the time being and
provide an additional safety buffer, so a traveller from a high-risk country must stand
down for 10 days before continuing onto the Cook Islands.
The MIQ costs and more detailed information can be found on http://www.covid19.gov.ck
Group 3 will also be required to prove their immigration status.
The entry requirements will be enforced at the border by Immigration Officials, and
failure to comply with the border entry regulations will result in travellers being
denied entry to the country at the border.
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