Cook Islanders stranded in NZ furious over extra isolation requirements

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Cook Islands twins Sahara and Arianna ... they must spend another fortnight in isolation in New Zealand, then may face another two weeks of quarantine in Rarotonga. Image: TVNZ freezeframe/PMC

By Barbara Dreaver, Pacific correspondent of Television NZ

More than 300 Cook Islanders stranded and in lockdown in New Zealand are furious to receive news they are under a further fortnight of isolation before being allowed home.

While details are hazy, it’s also understood they may then have to undergo a further two weeks quarantine in Rarotonga.

Cook Island twins Sahara and Arianna were born into lockdown but it may be some time before they get home.

Their parents and grandmother travelled to New Zealand in advance of their birth for medical safety.

READ MORE: Other Pacific Media Centre coronavirus reports

But the Cook Islands government is forcing them all to stay locked down for another fortnight here after the one they are currently doing is complete.


Barbara Dreaver’s Cook Islands report. Video: TVNZ

“It’s deflated and has just exacerbated an already anxiety- ridden time because while we are here we have families in Rarotonga. I have a job to get back to, I have bills I have to pay,” says grandmother Anna Koteka.

Because of the twins’ vulnerability, the family has been ultra safety conscious. The only person who shops, sheds clothes at the door and every item disinfected, including shopping items before entering the house.

No details have been given of the Cook Islands’ plans.

Meanwhile, a big Cook Islands golden oldies netball team is also in lockdown at an Auckland hostel.

“No one’s been out, no ones been in – every day we just want to step on the road and come back. We’ve never even done that. These gates are locked 24-7,” says team supporter Grace Tangata.

Food is left at the gate and a nurse is part of the group. Given this, they believe they should just be Covid-19 tested and if found negative allowed to return to Rarotonga for supervised quarantine.

Of the 40-strong team from Rarotonga, at least half of them are elderly and there’s real fear about how they’ll cope on their own in a hotel room for another two weeks.

Republished from Television New Zealand with permission.

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