COVID-19 pandemic in the Cook Islands

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

COVID-19 pandemic in the Cook Islands
Cook Islands location map.svg
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationCook Islands
Confirmed cases0[a][1]
Active cases0
Recovered0
Deaths
0
Government website
https://www.health.gov.ck/covid19/

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Cook Islands is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of 26 August 2021, the Cook Islands has not detected any active cases of SARS-CoV-2 and remains 'COVID-free'.[1] On the 24 August 2021, the Cook Islands completed its COVID-19 vaccination program with 96.7 percent of eligible population (16+) fully vaccinated.[2]

Background

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[3][4]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[5][6] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[5][7]

The pandemic has resulted in mixed experiences in the Cook Islands, with some residents reporting it to have been a 'welcome respite' from normally high-levels of international tourism. Whilst economically the sudden decrease in tourism has had a significant effect economically on businesses and Government revenue.[8][9]

Timeline

As a precautionary measure, flights from destinations other than New Zealand were cancelled in mid-March 2020,[10] and non-essential surgeries cancelled.[11][12] On 26 March, Prime Minister Henry Puna announced that 'Code Yellow' measures would be in place in the islands, by which public gatherings are restricted.[13] On 15 August, the Government has temporarily closed its air borders to any travellers in response to the re-emerging of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, New Zealand.[14]

In early May 2021, the New Zealand and Cook Islands governments agreed to establish a travel bubble between the two territories from 17 May. Travelers have to be present for at least 14 days in either NZ or the Cook Islands in order to participate in the travel bubble.[15]

On 5 June 2021, the first positive PCR test result in the Cook Islands was obtained, but it was determined to be a non-infectious historical case.[16][17]

On 13 June, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and Cook Islands Tourism chief executive Halatoa Fua confirmed that the Cook Islands government and tourism industry were exploring the possibility of opening a travel bubble with Australia.[18]

On 18 June 2021, Radio New Zealand and Stuff reported that Cook Islands businesses were experiencing a boom as a result of the relaxation of travel restrictions but that the islands were still experiencing a labour shortage.[19]

On 17 August 2021, the Cook Islands moved to Alert Level 2 following a New Zealand COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland.[20] This is the first time the Alert Level has been raised from Level 1 since the strengthened COVID-19 response system was introduced on 27 April 2021.[21] Within the first 5 days of following the Alert Level being raised 1788 PCR swabs for COVID-19 tests were processed targeting all passengers who arrived in the Cook Islands between 2-16 August 2021. As of 23 August 2021, all tests have been negative. Flights from New Zealand are currently operating as cargo only flights.[22]

Vaccination

On 24 August 2021, the Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health completed its COVID-19 national vaccination programme, with 96.7% of the eligible population, people aged 16 years or older, fully vaccinated. The doses were the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty. The government is planning a further operation to vaccinate 12-15 year olds.[2]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ No active SARS-COV-2 virus has ever been detected in the Cook Islands. One non-infectious historic case tested positive for viral fragments after travelling to the Cook Islands following release from quarantine in New Zealand.

References

  1. ^ a b "COVID-19 - Te Marae Ira Cook Islands Ministry of Health". Cook Islands Ministry of Health. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Over 96 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated". Cook Islands News. 24 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  3. ^ Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  6. ^ "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  7. ^ "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". www.wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  8. ^ "'We were very blessed': in the Cook Islands, pandemic proved a welcome respite from tourists". the Guardian. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  9. ^ "ADB Announces NZ$15.7 Million Loan to Help Cook Islands Combat COVID-19". Asian Development Bank. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Coronavirus: Stricter measures introduced in Guam, Cook Islands". 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Cook Islands ramps up Covid-19 prevention and mitigation". 18 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Coronavirus: A look at cases and restrictions in the Pacific". 20 March 2020. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Covid-19: Cook Islands to move to Code Yellow". 25 March 2020. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Cook Islands closes border over re-emergence of Covid-19 in NZ". RNZ. 15 August 2020. Archived from the original on 16 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  15. ^ Cheng, Derek (3 May 2021). "Covid 19 coronavirus: Cook Islands travel bubble to begin on May 17 - PM Jacinda Ardern". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 4 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Cook Islands detects first positive Covid-19 case". Cook Islands News. 6 June 2021. Archived from the original on 6 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Cook Islands detects historical Covid-19 case". Radio New Zealand. 7 June 2021. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  18. ^ Samoglou, Emmanuel (14 June 2021). "Cook Islands tourism focus turns to Australia". Stuff. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  19. ^ Jacobson, Adam (18 June 2021). "The Cook Islands is booming since the travel bubble opened but challenges remain". Stuff. Archived from the original on 18 June 2021. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Covid-19 Alert Level 2 – What you need to know". Cook Islands News. 17 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  21. ^ "𝗖𝗢𝗢𝗞 𝗜𝗦𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗗𝗦 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 𝗔𝗟𝗘𝗥𝗧 𝗟𝗘𝗩𝗘𝗟 𝗦𝗬𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗠 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗚𝗧𝗛𝗘𝗡𝗘𝗗". 27 April 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  22. ^ McKay, Jaewynn (21 August 2021). "Media Release - TMO Update 21 August 2021 as at 5-00PM" (PDF). Te Marae Ora - Cook Islands Ministry of Health. Retrieved 22 August 2021.