Epidemiologist Michael Baker says today's number of Covid-19 cases "looks like" a plateau, saying New Zealand might have locked down in the nick of time.
Today there were 83 new confirmed cases, just one more than Saturday's total of 82, bringing hope that New Zealand might be towards its peak of the curve.
Baker told Newstalk ZB this afternoon the reproduction number of the virus was now below 1 at 0.8 which "basically is good news" and shows Aucklanders are following the rules in a bid to stamp out the outbreak.
The contact tracing had been a challenge due to the huge number of close contacts, but Baker was optimistic with the current situation.
He said it looks like there could have been more than 100 infected people in the community before we even locked down and praised the decision of a snap lockdown.
"We got to it in the nick of time with the lockdown," he said.
The epidemoplogist said people exercising outdoors posed a risk given that the virus could be passed on with fleeting contact.
Other countries had implemented rules whereby residents were required to wear masks when leaving their home, but Baker said he wasn't sure that was needed here.
When quizzed about Australia's disaterous outbreak, Baker compared their "lockdown" rules to New Zealand's alert level 3.
He said Australia is more like the example of "what not to do".
"Unfortuantely, look at NSW.
"[However] Victoria has got much better because they stamped out a huge outbreak last year. People thought they would stamp it out."
Earlier today, Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy said if the number of essential workers who contract the disease grows, it could have major implications for how the country gets through the latest chapter in the pandemic.
Of people infected in the latest coronavirus outbreak, 73 are essential workers.
"The big concern is we get an outbreak in that network of essential workers, obviously across supermarket chains for instance," Hendy said.
"They key thing would be to see whether that number is growing."
Hendy, from Te Pūnaha Matatini and the University of Auckland Department of Physics, said it was a never a surprise if a fraction of all positive cases were essential workers.
"The key thing is, have they been interacting with their co-workers and members of the public?"
Currently, essential workers were known to be less than one-fifth of all 429 positive cases in the Auckland cluster.
Hendy said it would be important to observe how locations of interest correlated with likely essential worker shifts.
If a supermarket was deemed a location of interest for many hours, or for an eight-hour block, that likely indicated a worker there had tested positive.
"At the moment, we're not seeing eight-hour periods in supermarkets post-level 4 pop up," Hendy said.
"So hopefully there, essential workers that are caught up in it are already isolating."