Barring any curly new cases today, Cabinet's decision on Monday about moving Auckland to alert level 1 is all but made.
Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy's modelling shows there is currently more than a 95 per cent chance that Covid-19 is eliminated.
But legal requirements mean that Auckland cannot move to level 1 as early as 11.59pm on Monday - even if Cabinet deemed it safe.
That's because the government order changing alert levels, under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act, needs to be gazetted at least 48 hours before it comes into force.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: One new case in managed isolation
• Covid 19 coronavirus: US President Donald Trump hospitalised, given experimental antibody cocktail treatment
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern sends Trump New Zealand's best wishes
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Trump has 'mild symptoms', hospitalised, gets experimental antibody treatment
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was aware of this when, a fortnight ago, she signalled that Auckland's move to level 1 could start from 11.59pm on Wednesday this week - pending Cabinet approval today.
There is an exception in the law that allows the 48-hour period to be gazumped, but it's only for scenarios where an outbreak needs to be urgently contained.
That's how Ardern was able to move Auckland to level 3 within hours of announcing the first cases of the Auckland cluster in August.
But it can't be gazumped when restrictions are being eased.
This may seem odd, given that non-Aucklanders moved to level 1 on September 21, merely hours after Ardern announced Cabinet's decision that it was safe enough to do so.
But in that case, the legal i's and t's had already been dotted and crossed. Cabinet had already signed off the move in principle a week beforehand on the condition that there were no new unconnected cases.
No such in-principle agreement has been signed off for Auckland.
All but eliminated
Ardern wanted two full weeks for Auckland at level 2 and, for a move to level 1, she would have hoped to see no new community cases in that time.
On Saturday there were only eight active community cases, and while there was one new case, it has been contained in managed isolation.
The last community case was on September 24, but hardly an alarm bell-ringer as she was already in isolation; she was a household contact of a case linked to the Mt Roskill bereavement group, and the most recently reported cluster case.
The last time a case was out in the community appears to be on September 20, when a family who didn't know they had Covid-19 travelled from Taupo to Auckland.
About two weeks prior, a person in that family is thought to have caught the virus from touching an infected lid on a communal rubbish bin at the Crowne Plaza in Christchurch.
The person was still incubating the virus on day 12, when they tested negative, and then boarded a chartered flight to Auckland on September 11, sitting behind a man who later tested positive on September 19.
The person and their family were on holiday in Taupo on that day, and went into isolation the following day after they were identified as close contacts.
The next day, non-Aucklanders were moved to level 1, which means there have been no cases outside of isolation since that move.
It's also been more than three weeks - long enough to be confident that any spread has been stamped out - since the concerning case of the Jet Park nurse who went to three Les Mills classes.
Finally, the curveball cases are the ones with no epidemiological link, which is a sign of missing links in the chain of infection.
They wouldn't necessarily hold up a move to level 1, as long as any spread appears contained.
The last such case was reported on August 29 - 36 days ago.
Systems are hitting their targets
Super minimal risk of community spread is not enough to move to level 1 without a strong border, efficient contact-tracing, and high daily testing numbers.
Strict rules for aircrew come into force at midnight tonight, and regular testing of border-facing workers is now in place - and was even how the nurse's virus was discovered.
Contact-tracing was untested at the start of the outbreak but has managed to stay ahead of the outbreak.
There were more than 100 close contacts relating to the infected people on the chartered flight and the holiday in Taupo - but no further spread.
The nurse exercised at Les Mills with 85 other people. The fact that none of them caught Covid-19 shows how stochastic the virus is, but the speed with which they were isolated was also reassuring.
The benchmark is to have 80 per cent of close contacts successfully isolated within 48 hours of a positive test.
Contact-tracers managed exactly that - 37 out of 46 close contacts for community cases - for the period from September 22 to 28. They achieved higher - 89 per cent - for imported cases.
And there have been just shy of 60,000 tests in the two weeks since the last D-Day, averaging more than the 4000 daily tests that public health experts recommend.
Maintaining those numbers is crucial for level 1, and the public messaging - which was muddled at the end of June - is now clear that anyone with symptoms should be tested.
Ardern will announce Cabinet's decision at 1pm tomorrow, but in the absence of any unconnected cases today and tomorrow, Auckland should ready itself for level 1.
It's just a pity it can't kick in on Monday.