New Zealand PM Ardern says travel bubble with Cook Islands to start on May 17

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FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern participates in a debate in Auckland

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand will start quarantine free travel with Cook Islands on May 17, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference on Monday.

"Two way quarantine-free travel is a significant step in both countries' COVID-19 recovery, and a direct result of both New Zealand and the Cook Islands' successful response to the pandemic," Ardern said at a news conference.

A one-way quarantine-free travel from the Cook Islands to New Zealand has been possible since January. Last month New Zealand and Australia began a similar testing and quarantine-free travel.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Himani Sarkar)