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The Health Ministry in the Cook Islands Te Marae Ora (TMO) has released the latest update on the country’s Covid-19 situation.
As of February 19, TMO tested 38 people for the virus, and all returned a negative result.
One thousand and sixty five PCR tests were conducted by TMO, with 1061 testing negative. So far there are four positive Covid-19 cases in the Cook Islands who are currently isolating, and 61 close contacts in quarantine.
The country’s first case – case zero – was a traveller from New Zealand. She was notified by her family upon her arrival into the Cook Islands, that she was a close contact of a positive case at a recent wedding.
She immediately isolated with her travel companions, all of whom tested positive.
Despite this, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown says the travel bubble between the Cooks and New Zealand will remain open, “for us there is no expectation we will close our borders.
“Our policy has been once we are open, we will stay open,” he told John Pulu.
The Prime Minister also said they are keeping an eye on Australia to see when it would be safe to open their borders to the other side of the Tasman.
In the meantime, Brown says they are “really banking on the high vaccination rates” to reduce the chances of infection.
“But if infection does occur, to reduce greatly the chances of getting serious illness,” says Brown.
“We’re as prepared as we can be to face this challenge that is now in our country.”
According to the Cook Islands Covid-19 response, 97% of its eligible population are fully vaccinated against, boasting one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the world.