A public health expert has welcomed New Zealand's freshly-strengthened level 2 - but argues "high-risk" venues like bars and restaurants should remain closed for now.
Under the so-called Delta level 2, which all regions outside Auckland will move to from 11.59pm Tuesday, face masks must be worn inside most public venues, including shops, malls, and public spaces, but could be removed for eating and drinking.
New rules on scanning also applied at level 2 - mandatory scanning at bars, restaurants, cinemas, churches, hairdressers and anywhere where there was close contact between people.
As well, there will be a limit of 50 people at hospitality and event venues, while outdoor venues can have up to 100 people.
Otago University's Professor Nick Wilson said that, along with keeping places like pubs, restaurants, gyms and churches shut at level 2, the Government could have imposed more comprehensive indoor mask requirements.
Asked whether reopening busy indoor venues could be too risky, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pointed out the Government had moved to cap on headcounts, along with seating requirements.
Wilson also argued more attention was needed to tighten the border around Auckland.
"There should be a requirement that all essential workers crossing the border are vaccinated," he said.
"Rapid antigen tests also need to be used at border crossings – with these only taking 15 minutes to produce a result.
"This approach is much safer than the weekly testing of these workers that the Ministry of Health is currently planning."
With the alert level change, he felt these measures were now even more important.
"There is also a still a need to accelerate infection control measures in Auckland," he said.
"This not only requires high levels of testing in the community of anyone with symptoms – but also an expansion of wastewater testing so that suburbs testing positive can be identified and testing boosted at such localities."
Another Te Pūnaha Matatini Covid-19 modeller, Dr Dion O'Neale, said the new measures would help reduce the potential for spread.
"But if Covid does make it out of Auckland - or has been there undetected already - then even with these settings there's still the potential for it to spread quite quickly," he said.
"Bars and restaurants with up to 50 people eating and drinking could easily generate lots of onward cases, for example."
For testing workers travelling across the Auckland border, he said speed and frequency of testing would be key.
"We want to identify any infectious people who might be crossing the border as quickly as possible in order to minimise the potential of onward transmission," he said.
"Finding that someone has been infectious after leaving Auckland, and having to try and cover all of their movements before further cases can develop, is not nearly as good as if we able to return test results quickly enough to stop those onward exposures in the first place."
And for people outside Auckland, O'Neale urged anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms - which could become common quickly as lockdown lifted - to get tested.
Otago University senior lecturer Lesley Gray echoed those points.
"4750 Covid-19 tests were processed in the last 24 hours and 2000 people were tested in Auckland yesterday," she said.
"This does sound like a lot of tests, but this is actually a very low level of testing compared even to last week's numbers - over 13,000.
"Anyone with cold, flu or Covid-like symptoms should arrange to get a test. We know this virus transmits very quickly."
Te Pūnaha Matatini modeller Professor Michael Plank said that, for now, the downward trend in cases was promising.
"If we keep doing what we're doing, we have an excellent chance of eliminating this outbreak," he said.
"But there is work still to be done and, as experience in Australia shows, if we give Delta an inch it will take a mile.
"In the next phase of this outbreak, the biggest danger is relaxing too soon."
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told RNZ there are opportunities being missed by not mandating mask use across the board in schools.
"There's two problems with this. One is, it means that children are missing out on one of these essential protections, if we do get an outbreak. And of course they are great at transmitting the virus to their families," Baker said.
"The other opportunity I think we're really missing here is the one about education that we found with hand washing with school students who learned how to wash their hands properly and will take this message home to their families, who, in many cases were not actually that diligent.
"So I think we're really underestimating the potential for school students to be real leaders in this area."
Baker said mandatory mask wearing would be good for high schools and intermediate schools.
"I think it's more optional in primary school age students but internationally, they are wearing masks overseas so it's not impossible."
Baker says there are inconsistencies with the new level 2 rules, especially around mask-wearing at schools.
"There are inconsistencies, and actually the one I'm most concerned about is schools. We remember this from early in the pandemic when we got masks added into public transport and aircraft, but actually school buses were exempt from it.
"We're seeing that same split still in there, that we're not really applying the same approach, particularly to secondary school-age students in these various settings, and I think that's a real gap."