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Most Kiwis visiting Cook Islands must be vaccinated once travel pause lifts

In light of the Covid-19 Delta outbreak in New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands say they’ll be continuing their pause of quarantine-free flights from Aotearoa. 

Covid-19 testing in the Cook Islands. Source: 1 NEWS

The Cook Islands will also be introducing new vaccination requirements once restrictions lift.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said quarantine-free “green zone” flights from New Zealand will be paused until at least 11:59pm (AEST) on September 21. 

All flights to Australia from New Zealand are classed as “red zone” flights, meaning travellers will need to complete a 14-day stay in hotel quarantine upon arrival. 

A further review of the travel arrangements will be undertaken on September 21.

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands has indicated two-way quarantine-free travel will only resume once New Zealand is back at Alert Level 1.

Graeme West, general manager Australasia of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, said once that travel resumes, all visitors aged over 12 years will need to be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption.

“Many people are longing to get to our tropical paradise for a break. Knowing what the new requirements are likely to be allows them to get vaccinated and prepare for the border re-opening,” West said. 

He said if Auckland didn’t return to Alert Level 1 as soon as the rest of New Zealand, the Cook Islands may open flights from regions that are at the alert level. 

West said this could mean direct flights from Christchurch, but he noted nothing has been confirmed.