NZ Government steps in over Rarotonga flight after prominent Cook Islands doctor gets Covid-19 in Auckland

Source: 1News

The New Zealand Government is stepping in as passengers prepare to leave on a flight to Rarotonga tomorrow after a prominent Cook Islands doctor in Auckland tested positive for Covid-19.

The GP's link to the current cluster is still unknown however 1 NEWS understands another Cook Islander who works at Americold, the workplace of the father at the centre of the cluster, has also tested positive.

The Americold workplace is near the GP's surgery.

Currently, there is just one flight to Rarotonga a week for returning residents and visa holders but upon arrival, they do not have to quarantine. They only need a negative Covid test before arriving.

Tomorrow morning's flight was meant to have 30 passengers on it but it was unknown where they had been tested for Covid, meaning they could have gone to the infected doctor's practice.

Discussions in the Cook Islands weighed up whether tomorrow's flight should go ahead before the small Pacific nation's Ministry of Health decided it was fine if they quarantined on arrival.

However, the New Zealand Government was much more concerned and have opted to step in.

A statement from Minister of Health Chris Hipkins to 1 NEWS said the Ministry of Health is now working "very closely" with their Cook Islands counterparts to ensure Covid doesn't reach their shores.