PM Jacinda Ardern announces the Cook Islands travel bubble is in the works
New Zealand and the Cook Islands are working towards a travel bubble by May, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement after a meeting with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown. Brown said he was confident quarantine-free travel could be achieved in that timeframe. Currently, people from the Cooks Islands can travel to and from New Zealand without quarantining. “We are ready for business, and we are looking forward to the commencement in May,” he said.
With the Cook Islands Covid-free, Ardern said the risk is of those departing New Zealand carrying the virus to the Cook Islands, and Kiwis “carry a lot of responsibility” to get it right.
Ardern said the Government is currently working on the onward distribution process for vaccines to other countries. She said the Government is working with vaccine providers, with some liability issues yet to be ironed out. Ardern said a bubble is not contingent on widespread vaccination.
Both leaders had aimed for two-way quarantine-free travel by the end of March, but after two level 3 lockdowns since Auckland's February cluster, that was unlikely to happen.
"We have our own systems in place for the prevention of Covid," says PM Mark Brown. New Zealand has re-prioritised $20 million of additional support for the Cook Islands.
Watch highlights from Te Maeva Nui festival in the Cook Islands in the meantime while we wait for the bubble to open.