New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday the country will form a “travel bubble” with the Cook Islands, allowing quarantine-free travel between the two nations beginning on May 17.
At a news press briefing in Wellington, Ardern said the two nations were able to make the arrangement since they both showed a strong response to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand’s national rate of infection is below two percent.
One-way quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand has been permitted since January.
Last month New Zealand and Australia began a similar arrangement for quarantine-free travel. Travelers to each country cannot be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, cannot have had a positive result in the previous 14 days and cannot be experiencing symptoms.
Ardern also said New Zealand would help the Cook Islands with their COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supplying enough Pfizer-BioNTech doses to immunize their entire population.
The Cook Islands, about 3,200 kilometers northeast of New Zealand, depend heavily on New Zealand tourists for their economy.