New Zealand and the Cook Islands have agreed to open a quarantine-free travel bubble by end of March next year.

In a joint statement this morning the prime ministers of the two countries, Jacinda Ardern and Mark Brown, said officials are working together to safely arrange two-way travel in the first quarter of next year.

The Cook Islands are Covid free.

Ardern says the priority is and will remain keeping both countries safe from Covid-19.No caption

Photo: 123rf

Before a two-way travel opens up, New Zealand will open up one-way quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands as a first step for people who need to access essential services.

“The arrangement recognises the special ties between New Zealand and the Cook Islands. It will allow people to travel more easily between our two countries, while acknowledging that the priority remains to protect our populations from Covid-19,” Ardern said.

Prime Minister Brown said free movement was integral to the Cook Islands’ recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

“This arrangement is the next step towards resuming many aspects of life in the Cook Islands that have been disrupted by Covid-19, including access to health and education, and reuniting family and friends.”

Air New Zealand said its teams are busy preparing to start two-way travel between here and the Cooks and is working closely with the government and airports on requirements.

Chief executive Greg Foran said safety will continue being the company’s top priority, and it is looking forward to being able to provide people the opportunity to travel again.

Edgewater Resort and Club Raro chief executive Andrew Whittaker said it’s huge news as the island has been suffering since the borders have been closed.

SOURCE – RADIO NZ

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