Govt extends border closure, investigates quarantine hotel

Tuesday August 18, 2020 Written by Published in Economy

Officials are looking for premises where they can reopen a 14-day supervised quarantine facility in New Zealand, similar to the Auckland Holiday Inn.

Until then, the Cabinet has decided to extend the ban on most inbound travel through to Tuesday next week.

Ministers met yesterday afternoon to review the one-way border set in place in response to last week’s new Covid outbreak in Auckland.

They decided that the only two travellers allowed to come into Rarotonga on this Friday’s flight will be two returning health workers.

The two had escorted sick patients to Auckland last week; since then they have been under managed isolation in New Zealand and will now be allowed to return.

However, the Secretary of Health would also consider approval for any inbound passengers who will complete 14 days of New Zealand managed isolation at the end of this week, in time for the inbound Air New Zealand flight.

All other persons will be denied entry into Cook Islands, the government said.

“For future travellers, Cabinet has instructed Te Marae Ora to investigate the establishment of a 14-day supervised quarantine facility in NZ for the purposes of facilitating the safe travel of individuals to the Cook Islands.”

One particularly unlucky traveller is Kristle Jones, who last week completed a fortnight’s managed quarantine in preparation for her return home to Raro.

When Air New Zealand decided it would not take any passengers, she was not allowed to travel – but neither would New Zealand authorities would not let her stay in managed quarantine.

So she had to leave quarantine at the weekend – and now she doesn’t meet Te Marae Ora’s terms for a waiver, to be allowed to travel on this week’s flight. She will have to wait for the new facility to open, then two more weeks’ quarantine.

“Quarantine is hard, to be isolated by yourself,” she said last night. “It’s mentally hard. And now, I’ve got to do it all over again.”

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