COVID-19 pandemic in the Cook Islands

COVID-19 pandemic in the Cook Islands
Cook Islands location map.svg
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationCook Islands
First outbreakRarotonga
Index case15 February 2022
Confirmed cases79 [1][2]
Active cases49[2][3]
Suspected cases1 (historic)[3][4][5]
Recovered4[2]
Deaths
0
Government website
https://www.health.gov.ck/covid19/
https://covid19.gov.ck/
Suspected cases have not been confirmed by laboratory tests as being due to this strain, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

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 30 October 2021, 12,841 first doses and 12,498 second doses of vaccine had been administered, which represents over 97% of the eligible population (12+) fully vaccinated.[6]

On 3 December 2021, the Cook Islands reported one suspected case of COVID-19,[3] it was later determined to be a non-infectious historic case.[5]

On 15 February 2022, one case was reported in an individual in Rarotonga, who had recently returned from Auckland. The case was of the Omicron variant.[7]

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.[8][9]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[10][11] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[10][12]

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.[13][14]

Timeline

Cases
Cases
Deaths
Deaths

As a precautionary measure, flights from destinations other than New Zealand were cancelled in mid-March 2020,[15] and non-essential surgeries cancelled.[16][17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21][22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

On 17 August 2021, the Cook Islands moved to Alert Level 2 following a New Zealand COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland.[25] 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.[26] 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 during 2–16 August 2021. As of 23 August 2021, all tests were negative. Flights from New Zealand are currently operating as cargo-only.[27]

On 3 December 2021, the Cook Islands Government confirmed a ten year old had returned a 'weak positive' COVID-19 test result after arriving in the Cook Islands managed isolation quarantine, and was initially suspected as being a new case as the child had tested negative prior to departing New Zealand. The family and all other passengers tested negative on arrival to the Cook Islands.[3][4] On 5 December, The ten year patient was later determined to likely have been a non-infectious historic infection. The Cook Islands remains 'covid-free'.[5]

By 25 February 2022, the Cook Islands had reported a total of eight cases. Two of the most recent cases had arrived from New Zealand earlier in the month.[28]

On 1 March, the Cook Islands reported 15 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 25. In response, the Cook Islands Health Ministry (Te Marae Ora) also confirmed that 18 close contacts had tested positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine and had been placed in isolation. The Health Ministry also announced that they would be reducing isolation periods due to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant's shorter time period and to align the territory's COVID-19 response policies with New Zealand.[29]

Vaccination

On 24 August 2021, the Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health completed its initial COVID-19 national vaccination programme of people aged 16 years or older, with 96.7% of the eligible population fully vaccinated. The doses were the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty.[30]

In October 2021, vaccination of children aged 12 to 15 years old were also offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.[31]

By 30 October 2021, 12,841 first doses and 12,498 second doses of vaccine had been administered.[6]

Digital Vaccination Certificates

In preparation for the international borders to reopen to New Zealand in January 2022, digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates have been made available to fully vaccinated Cook Islanders.[32]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Cook Islands: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data". World Health Organisation. covid19.who.int. 15 February 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Cook Islands COVID-19 Response". covid19.gov.ck. Cook Islands Government. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "Cook Islands government confirms Covid-19 case in MIQ". Radio New Zealand. 4 December 2021. Archived from the original on 4 December 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b "COVID-19 CASE PICKED UP AT MIQ". Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health. 4 December 2021. Archived from the original on 4 December 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "COVID-19 Case Update 5 December 2021 (CKT)" (PDF). covid19.gov.ck. Te Marae Ora - Cook Islands Ministry of Health. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 December 2021. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  6. ^ a b "COVID-19 Vaccinations | Cook Islands - COVID19". covid19.gov.ck. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Cook Islands detects first Covid case". RNZ. 15 February 2022. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  8. ^ Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". www.wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  13. ^ "'We were very blessed': in the Cook Islands, pandemic proved a welcome respite from tourists". the Guardian. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  14. ^ "ADB Announces NZ$15.7 Million Loan to Help Cook Islands Combat COVID-19". Asian Development Bank. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Coronavirus: Stricter measures introduced in Guam, Cook Islands". Radio New Zealand. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Cook Islands ramps up Covid-19 prevention and mitigation". Radio New Zealand. 18 March 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "Covid-19: Cook Islands to move to Code Yellow". Radio New Zealand. 25 March 2020. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Cook Islands detects first positive Covid-19 case". Cook Islands News. 6 June 2021. Archived from the original on 8 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Cook Islands detects historical Covid-19 case". Radio New Zealand. 7 June 2021. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "Covid-19 Alert Level 2 – What you need to know". Cook Islands News. 17 August 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  26. ^ "Cook Islands COVID-19 alert level system strengthened". Facebook. 27 April 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Tokelau, Torika (25 February 2022). "Covid-19: Cook Islands cases increase to eight as two more test positive". Stuff. Archived from the original on 25 February 2022. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  29. ^ Hewett, William (1 March 2022). "Coronavirus: Cook Islands announces spike in COVID cases with 15 new infections". Newshub. Archived from the original on 2 March 2022. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Over 96 per cent of eligible population fully vaccinated". Cook Islands News. 24 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  31. ^ "Vaccination Roll-Out for 12-15 Year Old's Concludes in Rarotonga". Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health. 1 November 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Preparing for Digital COVID Certificates". Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 4 December 2021.

Media files used on this page

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Location map of the Cook Islands
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