Cook Islands launch Covid Tracer app ahead of New Zealand Bubble

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The Cook Islands takes one step closer to a safe travel bubble with New Zealand, as it launches its own Covid-19 tracing app CookSafe+.

Developed by Rush – which created the NZ COVID Tracer app with New Zealand’s Ministry of Health – it will be available to Cook Islands residents and New Zealanders, visiting the islands.

“The CookSafe+ app is an essential step on our path to safe and streamlined two-way quarantine-free travel with New Zealand,” said Cook Island PM Mark Brown.

The Islands anticipate the new app and the opening of a PCR lab will allow them to effectively trace and test air passengers arriving on Rarotonga. Previous tests had to be sent off-island for processing.

The Islands’ new system is cross-compatible with New Zealand’s app. A sign that the Islands anticipate travel between the countries is imminent.

However, visitors to the Cook Islands will be required to download the CookSafe+ app separately to use it while abroad.

“CookSafe+ helps us enhance our contract tracing goal and its compatibility with the NZ Covid Tracer app is of vital importance to the opening of a travel bubble between our two countries,” said Brown.

The launch comes the day before Brown’s first visit to New Zealand as prime minister, having taken on the role in September 2020.

On Friday Brown will meet for face to face talks with PM Jacinda Ardern in Auckland, followed by meetings with New Zealand’s ministers for Foreign Affairs and Covid-19 Response, Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins.