Cook Islands braces for first community cases of COVID-19

“Having a high percentage of our population vaccinated will give us substantial protection against serious diseases,” the country’s prime minister said.

The Cook Islands, a small South Pacific country that has not experienced COVID-19 in its community, is bracing for its first coronavirus infections after an infected traveler visited, Prime Minister Mark Brown said on Sunday. February 13.

The New Zealand traveler spent eight days in the community and tested positive for Omicron when he returned home last week, Brown said in a video posted to the government’s Facebook page.

“It’s likely that the person…was contagious while they were here and even more likely that the virus was in our community,” he said.

“There may be ‘silent transmission,’ where our high vaccination rate is so protective that people get COVID but so mildly they don’t realize they have it.”

Official data shows that 99.6% of the island nation’s roughly 17,000 people aged 12 and over are doubly vaccinated and 70% of those eligible have received their boosters.

The Cook Islands resumed quarantine-free travel with New Zealand a month ago, after cutting itself off from the world when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

In December, the country reported a case of COVID-19 in a person quarantined after arriving on a repatriation flight, who had no exposure to the community.

“Having a high percentage of our population vaccinated will give us substantial protection against serious disease,” Brown said. – Rappler.com

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