Cook Islands PM confident border reopening will be safe

Source: 1News

A peaceful protest has taken place in the Cook Islands against the reopening of the two-way quarantine free travel bubble with New Zealand on January 14.

The protest leader, Teariki Heather said it just wasn't safe for Cook Islanders.

"If we get Covid here, we don't have the professionals here to look after our people. That's the purpose of our protest, keep the borders closed for now until it's safe."

Heather has also just launched his new political party, Cook Island United Party.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said he had hoped to talk to the group but they disbanded and left when he arrived.

"To me this is obviously a political rally rather than a protest rally against the opening of our borders," Brown said.

Cook Islands (file picture)

What was thought to be the Cook Islands' first Covid case last week on a repatriation flight has turned out to be a historic one.

Brown says the Cook Islands is ready to welcome back visitors, with 96 per cent of over-12s fully vaccinated and 99 per cent having had at least one jab.

"Rarotonga and Aitutaki will have their third vaccination before we open on January 14 but we have our order of anti-viral drugs for those who are here who do get sick," he said.

In the outer islands there is some trepidation, but most support the reopening.

All tourists travelling to the Cook Islands will have to be double vaccinated and they'll also need a negative Covid test before leaving. Anyone travelling to the outer islands will have to do another test at the domestic terminal.