* NZ has 114 active cases, with nine people in hospital; worldwide there have been 23.3 million cases and 805,000 deaths
* Why Jacinda Ardern's decision today is the hardest yet
* Aucklanders flout level-3 restrictions in the sun
* Political Roundup: How serious are the Govt border botch-ups?
* Racism, privilege and that Covid rumour - the uncomfortable humanisation of man who made it up
Public health experts are urging caution about moving Auckland down to level 2 this Wednesday night but businesses say it's imperative if they are to survive and save jobs.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will tell the country at 3pm today whether alert level settings will be eased or extended as the number of new cases continues to fall.
The Cabinet's decision comes as the conflict between public health and economic factors becomes even starker.
The current schedule is for level 3 in Auckland and level 2 for the rest of the country until 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker yesterday said a lockdown extension would ensure a downward trend in cases was sustained.
Other experts are also urging caution.
There was only one new case in the community yesterday and two new cases in managed isolation and quarantine.
The falling number of new community cases - nine on Friday, six on Saturday and one yesterday - was "good news", according to Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy.
But he said his team's modelling showed that level 3 should be extended in Auckland "to be really sure".
He noted that in May, when the Government last decided to move from level 3 to 2, the case numbers had been lower for longer.
"We'd had almost two weeks of these kind of numbers. So relative to where we were back then, it's quite early for a shift," Hendy said.
"This is still a really tricky disease to manage, and you can't take risks because asymptomatic spread makes it hard to control. We wouldn't want to see a bounce-back and have to go back into level 3 later."
Tools to contain an outbreak - including contact tracing and genome sequencing - had improved since May, he added. "It's a really tough call."
Otago University infectious disease expert Professor David Murdoch believed the Government would be conservative and err on the side of caution.
"This will be a decision based on the confidence that the Government has contained community transmission and that there are no loose ends," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.
"That's the big question. We need to see the data. I am sure there will be a cautious approach if there are any concerns."
Research at the weekend revealed 89 per cent of businesses in Auckland are on the wage subsidy and an Auckland Business Chamber survey showed almost 20 per cent of businesses did not believe they would survive.
Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said today he was surprised to hear some experts wanting a lockdown extension of up to two weeks.
"We are hearing some tough stories, people losing their businesses, threats to their homes," Barnett told Hosking. "The call from business is widespread - it's about survival, it's about minimising job losses.
"I would be absolutely saying [move to level] 2, but I am almost wanting to go... is it possible to do a 1.5? The messaging needs to be clear from Government that they will manage the border.
"We need to give business confidence that they are going to be able to survive and be able to minimise those job losses.
"The lockdowns we are seeing at the moment are unsustainable. We need to come up with a better model. I'd be saying businesses can only open with a QR code - food and beverage, look they are good at hygiene, they are good at the QR codes. Give them a better break than what we have done at the moment."
Professor Murdoch said: "We really have got to keep this in perspective. No one in the world knew how to manage this right from the start of the year. We are all doing our best, we are learning as we go along. There are some areas where we have been disappointed. The systems weren't really tight enough. The important thing is that systems are tightened up and that we refine and nuance the alert levels and other systems."
Meanwhile, dozens of Aucklanders were too tempted by the weekend's sunshine and acted as if lockdown lite had already been lifted.
Some ripped off caution tape and used local playgrounds and skate parks, prompting Mayor Phil Goff to remind Aucklanders to stay local and not jeopardise what looked like "the home straight".
LISTEN LIVE TO NEWSTALK ZB
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will provide the latest testing results at 1pm today, and he will then give his recommendation to Cabinet.
At 3pm today Ardern will host a press conference to reveal Cabinet's decision with Health Minister Chris Hipkins, who declined to be interviewed yesterday but did a 26-minute Facebook Live.
The announcements will screen live on nzherald.co.nz and across Newstalk ZB.
The community case announced yesterday is a household contact of a previous case in the South Auckland cluster, which brings the number of cases in the cluster to 93.
Three cases are still under investigation, including the Rydges maintenance worker, so the total number of cases in the community is 96.
With 18 cases in managed isolation and quarantine, the number of active cases is 114. Of the nine people in hospital, six people are stable and three are in ICU in Middlemore.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Ministry of Health update on new cases as New Zealand's lockdown D-Day looms
• Covid 19 coronavirus: The moment that left Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 'gutted'
• Covid 19 coronavirus: New Auckland cases, Countdown supermarkets closed, bus passengers sought
• Covid 19 coronavirus: 'We will not be silenced' - Maskless anti-lockdown protesters march in Auckland
Of 2308 close contacts identified in the current outbreak, 2219 have been contacted and are self-isolating.
Cabinet will consider a range of factors including the trends in the types of cases, the strength of contact-tracing and border controls, the health system's capacity, effects on the economy and the level of public compliance.
Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said the three cases still being investigated weren't necessarily a red flag as they may still be linked to other cases.
He said it would be more reassuring to have a longer period of few cases because test results are generally an indication of the presence of Covid-19 from a week ago.
"If we saw noughts and ones in the next few days between now and Wednesday, you could consider dropping down a level, but that may be still a bit too soon.
"If there are more cases than that, you'd be quite wary of dropping a level this week. That's being relatively cautious, but everything we know about this virus suggests we should be cautious."
Baker said stages between alert levels should be considered, such as keeping some travel restrictions in and out of Auckland if the rest of the country is at a different alert level.
"The rest of the country could drop to a 1.5 level, where we still might not want to have large gatherings in an indoor setting where you could have a super-spreader episode that could be really catastrophic."
He said the "extremely good" response since the community outbreak was detected on August 12 had helped avoid Melbourne's fate.
"Elimination means strong, decisive action and doing everything you can rapidly. You don't step it up gradually and you don't delay.
"Virus transmission, once it gets in an exponential stage, is a lot harder to contain. Melbourne were slow to act, they ramped it up by degrees, and they had a neighbourhood-level approach rather than a city-wide approach."