NZ-Cook Islands travel bubble given launch date

Source :IANS
Author :IANS
Last Updated: Mon, May 3rd, 2021, 14:00:14hrs
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Wellington, May 3 (IANS) The Cook Islands will open its border for the first time since March 2020, with New Zealand residents able to visit the small Pacific nation from May 17, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday.

The "travel bubble" will allow New Zealanders and Cook Islanders to travel between both countries without the need to quarantine, dpa news agency reported citing Ardern as further saying.

One-way quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand has been possible since January.

The bubble was a "significant step" in both countries' Covid-19 recovery, and a direct result of both New Zealand and the Cook Islands' successful response to the pandemic, Ardern said.

"It will mean families can reconnect, commercial arrangements can resume and Kiwis can take a much-welcomed winter break and support the Cook Islands' tourism sector and recovery."

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said the bubble was a result of "uncompromising commitment" to safety and protection.

"Today we start our journey of recovery. Today we get back to business. Today with our joint confirmation of the 17 May, we give our people, and particularly our industry, the certainty necessary to institute remaining preparatory steps to once more welcome visitors to our shores."

New Zealand has had a similar "travel bubble" arrangement with Australia since mid-April.

The Cook Islands has never recorded a case of Covid-19, while New Zealand on Monday reported four new cases, all detected at the border.

There are currently 25 active cases of Covid-19 in the country, with a total of 2,266 cases and 26 deaths.

--IANS

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