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Preparedness for potential Covid-19 outbreak in the Cook Islands has a long way to go
11:30 pm GMT+12, 18/02/2021, Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is preparing for New Zealand tourists but it’s looking increasingly unlikely to open to visitors in the next few months.
 
The situation is desperate, with 85 per cent of the Cook Islands GDP linked to tourism and many struggling businesses relying on their borders opening to New Zealanders.
 
1 NEWS understands only half of the work needed to open the borders has been done, although good gains are being made.
 
“We've done quite a bit of work in positioning ourselves maintaining we don’t get Covid coming in to the country and managing to contain it if it does come into the country and being able to treat it if there are cases in the country,” Prime Minister Mark Brown says.
 
However, the testing laboratory is some way off with critical equipment yet to arrive.
 
On a positive note, the Cook Safe tracing tool is a step in the right direction.
 
The Red Cross has also offered its team of 96 trained volunteers for contact tracing.
 
Fears remain about Covid-19 getting in through a travel bubble, but the failing economy is a major concern too.
 
“Yes, we need to do things to improve the economy, but it has to be super safe, our population is so vulnerable, diabetes you name it,” Opposition leader Tina Browne told 1 NEWS.
 
Many in the Cook Islands and New Zealand are hoping a balance can be struck between safety and the economy

SOURCE: TVNZ/PACNEWS


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