Quarantine-free travel to Cook Islands re-opens for Kiwis today

The Cook Islands are now officially open to Kiwis, with the first quarantine-free flight from New Zealand to the Pacific nation scheduled for tomorrow. 

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Preparations are in full swing as Cook Islanders get to receive their first visitors in over a year. Source: Breakfast

The country is swinging into action in preparation. 

Businesses are stepping up their contact tracing system CookSafe, with travellers and locals alike being asked to scan QR codes as they visit locations around the islands. 

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce is run off its feet helping businesses prepare for visitors.

Fletcher Melvin, the chamber's president, told 1 NEWS he was pleased with the uptake in contact tracing. 

“CookSafe is working really well. We’ve had 165,000 tag ins to date and we’ve had about 1800 downloads of the new CookSafe app.”

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The country is gearing up for its first visitors in more than a year. Source: 1 NEWS

A PCR specialist lab is also up and running in the islands to help its testing capability. 

The first shipment of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is also arriving in the islands tomorrow. Rarotonga Hospital expects to give its first dose on Wednesday. 

Three New Zealand nurses are already on the ground providing support to local staff, and more are expected on tomorrow’s flight. 

Prime Minister Mark Brown said he was confident that with the country’s small population, vaccination can happen quickly — within about 12 weeks. 

Air New Zealand said it would be operating two to three flights a week to the islands, ramping up to daily flights come the July school holidays. 

There will be no requirement for pre-departure Covid-19 tests, but there will be random health checks at airports.