Wed, 03 Mar 2021

WELLINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from Jan. 21, enabling access to essential services such as health, according to an official announcement on Friday.

"Following confirmation of the Cook Islands' COVID free status, and the implementation of strict health and border protocols we are now in the position to resume quarantine-free travel for passengers from the Cook Islands into New Zealand," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown said "Cook Islanders look forward to quarantine-free entry to New Zealand to enable access to essential services, in the lead up to resuming free movement of people in both directions."

Both countries continue to take a very careful approach to managing borders as the spread of COVID remains the paramount concern, Ardern said.

"New Zealand and the Cook Islands are united in our commitment to protecting our communities from COVID-19," she said.

"These arrangements do not apply to New Zealanders wishing 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 added.

Officials of both governments are committed to working towards ensuring all safety protocols and response capabilities are in place for the resumption of two-way quarantine free travel between the two countries within the first quarter of 2021, she said.

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