Cook Islands closes travel bubble with New Zealand after COVID-19 community case in Auckland

Travel to the Cook Islands from New Zealand has been suspended for at least 72 hours following the community case of COVID-19 in Auckland on Tuesday.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown has also moved the country to alert level 2, as all of Aotearoa is moved into alert level 4 for at least three days.

In a statement to Newshub, the Cook Island government said the pause on international arrivals will allow Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health to test passengers who arrived after August 11. 

It also means domestic travel to the Pa Enua from Rarotonga is suspended for 72 hours. 

Passengers can return to New Zealand from Rarotonga. 

"While the epidemiological variance and transmission link for the community case in New Zealand is still being investigated, we must act swiftly here to minimise exposure risk for the Cook Islands so we remain safe," Brown said.

The Cook Islands Cabinet will meet again on Wednesday to consider any updated information received and the country's next steps.

Air New Zealand told Newshub it would continue to operate services from Rarotonga to bring people home.