Cook Islands resumes NZ flights, Kiwis required to quarantine while health officials investigate community COVID-19 cases

The Cook Islands is resuming flights with New Zealand but passengers must quarantine for up to 14 days on arrival.  

It comes after a Northland woman tested positive for COVID-19 after completing 14 days at Auckland's Pullman Hotel MIQ facility. On Wednesday, two family members who stayed at the same facility also tested positive. 

The cases led Australia to close its border to New Zealand for 72 hours - now extended for another 72 hours - out of an "abundance of caution" after it was discovered the woman had contracted the South African COVID-19 variant in the community. 

The Cook Islands also cancelled a flight to Rarotonga on Wednesday as a precaution but has now announced flights will resume with mandatory quarantine. 

Passengers will also be required to get a COVID-19 test when they arrive and possibly again in six days. 

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said he has confidence in the New Zealand systems, testing and contact tracing. 

Brown said people in quarantine may be released sooner if there is no evidence of community transmission after all the test results come back. 

He also said passengers can defer their travel with Air New Zealand offering to rebook passengers with no additional cost.  

The two new cases visited several places in Auckland after leaving quarantine including supermarkets in Orewa and the North Shore. They also spent long periods of time at BBQ King in Albany. 

The Ministry of Health is asking anyone who visited any of the locations of interest during the same time period, or anyone in Auckland with symptoms, to call Healthline, self isolate and get tested.

"It's important the right people isolate and get tested, so we don't overwhelm testing centres," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

"We understand that many will be anxious, but it's important to remember we are carrying out these measures as a precaution. There is no evidence so far that suggests community transmission - but we need the right people to isolate and get tested."

List of locations visited by the two new cases: 

  • BBQ King Albany - January 15 - 5pm to 6pm
  • BBQ King Albany - January 16 - 5pm to 6pm 
  • BBQ King Albany - January 17 - 11am to 2pm
  • PaknSave Silverdale - January 17 - 2pm to 2:30pm
  • BBQ King Albany - January 17 - 5pm to 9pm
  • PaknSave Silverdale - January 18 - 12 noon to 12:30pm
  • BBQ King Albany  - January 18 - 12:30pm to 3pm
  • Caltex Orewa - January 18 - 1pm to 1:30pm
  • BBQ King Albany - January 18 - 5pm to 9pm
  • PaknSave Silverdale - January 21 - 1:37pm to 1:53pm
  • ASB Wairau Valley - January 21 - 2:06pm to 2:09pm 
  • Hickeys Pharmacy - January 23 - 12:30pm to 1:30 pm
  • New World Orewa - January 23 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm 
  • Farmers Albany Albany  - January 24 - 12 noon to 1pm
  • Tai Ping Supermarket Albany - January 24 - 12 noon to 1pm
  • New World Orewa - January 25 - 1pm to 2pm
  • Caltex Orewa - January 25 - 2:15pm to 2:30pm 
  • PaknSave Silverdale - January 25 - 2:35pm to 3:02pm 
  • DaHua Supermarket Northcote - January 26 - 12:57pm to 1:45pm 
  • Tai Ping Supermarket Northcote - January 26 - 12:30pm to 1pm