Your safety is our priority. COVID-19 Measures

Passengers Told to Wear Masks

As 41 people arrived back on Rarotonga on Friday, another 125 Cook Islanders head back to New Zealand this afternoon.

It’s been more than a year since Mariata Tavioni-Pittman has been home to Rarotonga.

She was one of 41 passengers (40 adults and one child), who was on Air New Zealand flight NZ940 from Auckland to Rarotonga yesterday afternoon.

The arrival lounge at Rarotonga International Airport almost resembled pre-Covid times and was packed with people waiting to welcome their loved ones, home and adorn them with eis and ei katus.

Tavioni-Pittman’s mum Ellena was absolutely thrilled to see her daughter.

This afternoon about 125 passengers are confirmed to be flying to Auckland from Rarotonga in the second quarantine free flight to New Zealand. The first quarantine free flight on Wednesday had 115 passengers.

Te Marae Ora health ministry spokesperson Jaewynn McKay said travellers from the Cook Islands are required to wear a mask on the flight – it is an Air New Zealand requirement.

“While in New Zealand, Cook Islanders must also adhere to New Zealand’s current Covid-19 Alert Level 1 restrictions, which include wearing face coverings on public transport in Auckland and wearing face coverings on all domestic flights throughout New Zealand,” she said.

Most of the passengers that left on Wednesday were seen without masks at Auckland Airport.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown is also asking people heading to New Zealand to do the “right thing”.

“Do what New Zealand is asking its citizens to do in terms of hygiene, in terms of physical distancing and also in terms of ensuring you apply for scanning, contact tracing that New Zealand is using … there is a lot of things that we have to do in our part to not take this quarantine free travel for granted.”

Wearing a face covering while in the arrival airport is one the requirements for people from Cook Islands who want to travel to New Zealand quarantine free.

The other conditions are:

You have not been overseas outside New Zealand and the Cook Islands in the past 14 days.

You must maintain physical distance (as much as possible) from anyone in the arrival airport who did not arrive from the Cook Islands.

There are no reasonable grounds, as determined by a suitably qualified health practitioner, to suspect you may have Covid-19. This may include: having had contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the past 14 days, having any Covid-19 symptoms, and waiting for a Covid-19 test result.

Local health officials will be conducting temperature checks of passengers before they check in at the Rarotonga International Airport. New Zealand public health officials will be undertaking random temperature checks of passengers on all flights arriving from the Cook Islands into New Zealand.

Auckland Airport is using a streamlined Safe Travel Path to process passengers arriving quarantine-free from the Cook Islands.

The Safe Travel Path creates separation from other arriving passengers by giving Cook Islands flights exclusive use of the international terminal for arrivals processing – with no other arriving flights within 90 minutes either side of the scheduled arrival time.

Passengers are escorted off Cook Islands flights when terminal cleaning has concluded and following an arrivals path through the terminal marked out with stanchions and barriers.

Before returning to the Cook Islands, passengers will need to undertake a Covid-19 test within 96 hours of their flight departing, which must be negative and complete the exit health clearance process at Auckland International Airport.

(Source: Cook Island News 23 January 2021)

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