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Kiwis open border to Cook Islands


New Zealand will open its border to quarantine-free travel with the Cook Islands, almost a year after both countries closed their borders to guard against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Passengers from the Cook Islands would be able to travel to New Zealand without the need to quarantine from January 21, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday.

“Both countries continue to take a very careful approach to managing our borders and preventing the spread of COVID-19 remains our paramount concern,” Ardern said.

Strict protocols including pre-departure health requirements and separation from other travellers at Auckland Airport would be in place.

Travel to New Zealand would allow Cook Islanders access to essential services such as health and education, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said in a statement.

However, the agreement is only one-way, with New Zealanders not yet be able to travel to the Cook Islands.

“We said we would take a phased approach to resuming two-way travel and will do so only once all safety protocols can be met,” Ardern said.

It was hoped two-way quarantine free travel between the two countries would be possible “within the first quarter” of 2021, Ardern said.

Both New Zealand’s and the Cook Islands’ borders have only been open to residents and citizens and those who qualify under a handful of exemptions since March 2020.


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