* NZ has 101 active cases, with six people in hospital - worldwide, there have been 22.5 million cases and 790,000 deaths
* Elevator link: Rydges case may see tighter controls on those in isolation
* Matthew Hooton: Why Bloomfield, ministry have lost their hold on Jacinda Ardern
* The Road Ahead - gauging Kiwis' response to the Government's response
* New mystery case makes moving D-Day forward unlikely
Auckland's lockdown will be reviewed by Cabinet this morning with a mystery new case at one of the city's biggest malls adding to safety concerns.
While ministers - who start meeting at 10am - haven't ruled out easing restrictions, a potential new strain of community transmission at the St Luke's mall could be cause for concern despite growing confidence the 78-case strong Auckland cluster is contained.
Auckland went into level-3 lockdown and the rest of New Zealand fell into level 2 at 12pm on Wednesday last week - the restrictions are in place until 11.59pm next Wednesday, but there are suggestions Auckland might come out of level 3 several days earlier. A higher, level-4 lockdown has been ruled out.
Cabinet will also today consider the latest health information about the cluster, contact tracing capacity, results from the surge of testing and whether any new cases are existing contacts, or if they're new.
Ministers will also look at the source of the infections.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take the podium in the Beehive at 1pm to update the public on Cabinet's review - that press conference will be shown live on nzherald.co.nz and across Newstalk ZB - but final announcements are not likely to be made until Monday.
Cabinet's review comes as one of the big guns called in to review and fix the border patrol response, Sir Brian Roche, said he felt New Zealanders may have lost a sense of perspective on how well the country had responded to Covid over the past months.
"We are the envy of the world. We seem to want to beat ourselves up for every infringement, and as a citizen I find that surprising," Roche told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.
Asked by Hosking why tests on border workers hadn't been happening, as expected, Roche said that was the "very elusive" question.
"Everyone's acknowledged that what they thought was happening, didn't. So there has to be an intervention to remedy that and I'm part of the intervention."
He urged perspective. "A mistake was made, there's a lot of moving parts, a lot of risk. No one goes to work to make a mistake; we shouldn't overstate it. There have been mistakes made. There have been some mis-communications - let's just simplify it, sort it out and move on."
Asked if there were far too many people and departments involved, Roche said: "I think that sums up the public sector but at one level it's a cheap shot. They all work together very well. This is a cross Government thing - it's led by health, the health voice is very loud but it requires a collective effort. Not everybody works as easily in that environment as you would hope."
Leadership was important at a political and administrative level. "I have had the privilege of lifting the hood at public health units. I was humbled by what I saw. The work they are doing on our behalf is unbelievable - and we have lost just a sense of perspective. Yes, this has come back, we have deployed hundreds and hundreds of people to safeguard the community. They have done it in an incredibly professional and sensitive way."
Meanwhile, more clues about the mystery Rydges Hotel case were uncovered yesterday with the strongest lead being an elevator.
Off the back of bringing 500 more Defence Force troops into managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities - making the total deployment 1200 troops - the Government announced a $6 million plan for heightened security measures like alarmed thermal CCTV.
Meanwhile National wants all returnees to have a negative test before flying and Act is calling for a risk-weighted approach for arrivals.
Yesterday five new cases were linked to the Americold cluster - four in Auckland and one in Tokoroa - while there were six people in hospital, including one person in intensive care in Middlemore.
But the St Luke's mall case previously considered to be connected was reclassified as "under investigation".
The employee of a mall store worked for several days while infectious but it was mostly during alert level 3, so had little to no interaction with the public.
Auckland Regional Public Health said there was a "very small possibility" others might have been exposed from 10.30am to noon on Wednesday, August 12.
Anyone at the mall at the same time doesn't have to self-isolate but should watch out for symptoms and get a test if needed.
Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield declined to hypothesise how the person became infected before the results of genome testing are available.
But the case could point to a new strain of community transmission which will form part of Cabinet's considerations when it meets at 10am to review New Zealand's alert levels.
Meanwhile, Bloomfield said officials were narrowing in through a process of elimination about how the Americold worker - the first known case in that cluster - was infected after ruling out Covid-19 coming into New Zealand on goods imported to the cool store.
It "probably always was" person-to-person contact, he said.
"We'll aim to find the main source."
And two nurses who visited the returnee from the United States with the same strain of virus as the maintenance worker have returned negative test results.
Bloomfield said investigators' strongest lead was that the pair used the same elevator at the Rydges Hotel managed isolation facility just minutes apart - and it could come down to them pushing the same lift button.
"There's generally low risk of infection by touching a contaminated surface … but in this instance specifically, the very close temporal relationship between the use of the lift means it's higher than a low possibility. I think there's a good possibility there."
Meanwhile the Government, the National Party and Act all made announcements about their approach to the border.
Minister for MIQ, Megan Woods, said another $6 million would be spent rolling out heightened security measures, including thermal CCTV to monitor facilities with alarms if there was a breach, and a trial of CovidCards for staff at one hotel.
The statement landed 30 minutes before National released its border policy, which promised a separate agency, compulsory contact tracing technologies for border workers and wait times of 60 minutes maximum to get a test.
"The current ad-hoc system of managing Covid-19 at our border – putting various agencies in charge of different facets – has led to a disorderly and confused response," said leader Judith Collins.
It would also implement a requirement to test negative before New Zealanders could fly home and those unable to get a test wouldn't be allowed back.
Collins said while it might be a burden on returnees, it should be weighed against the current lockdown-lite imposed on Auckland.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins said the policy was "fraught" because people often caught the virus in transit hubs between flights and he didn't think building a new agency in the middle of a crisis would necessarily help the border operation.
Act also released its border policy yesterday which also promised a designated multi-disciplinary "Epidemic Response Centre".
It would also allow alternative isolation "where safe and electronically monitored" with strict punishment for rule-breakers, a risk-weighted response with travellers treated differently depending on which country they'd come from and use of innovations like cellphone tracking and the CovidCard.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said this week he wanted the country's MIQ facilities moved from hotels into army bases spread across the country and called for a new "Border Protection Force".
Ardern yesterday visited an ESR Covid-19 testing facility to thank staff for their work and said it helped them solve "some of the mysteries".