New Zealanders should know this week whether they will be kept in lockdown for longer than four weeks as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her cabinet ministers are set to receive fresh advice.
The tough Covid-19 lockdown measures were brought in at midnight March 26, meaning all New Zealanders were required to self-isolate in their homes.
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield this afternoon said there had been a flattening off in new coronavirus cases, but that he would like to see if that continued over the next two or three days.
Based on that outcome, Bloomfield would then provide advice to Cabinet this week about whether the lockdown should be extended.
"It may well be it [Covid-19] has peaked now," he said.
"The number of cases does seem to be levelling off."
There were now 950 likely cases of Covid-19 in the country after Bloomfield today said there were 52 new confirmed cases and 30 probables overnight.
The flattening off in cases was also backed by a ramping up of testing, he said.
"We've got good levels of testing happening. That's providing us with good information. So we're increasingly confident these lockdown measures are working."
New Zealanders officially went into lockdown at 11.59pm on Wednesday, March 25 after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attempted to get on the front foot in combat ting the highly contagious virus.
She took New Zealand into a state of emergency that led to all non-essential businesses closing and Kiwis staying home except for trips for essential supplies from the supermarket and pharmacy and exercise close to their homes.
What you can do
• Act and behave like you have Covid-19 by avoiding people and places to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
• Spend time with people in your direct household.
• Go for a walk or exercise and enjoy fresh air, but keep a 2m distance from people at all times. Take your children outside and spend time with the people you are isolating with, but do it close to home.
• Drive in private vehicles in your own town/city for essential reasons like going to the supermarket or pharmacy.
• Children in shared custody arrangements can go between parents' households as long as they live within the same community, city or town. If not, they will have to spend the lockdown with one parent.
• Go to a supermarket or dairy for essential items. Follow all the safety measures in place to reduce the risk of getting or spreading Covid-19.
• If people need to see a doctor or other medical professional they must phone first. Most consultations will be over the phone or by videoconference to stop any risk of the disease spreading by person-to-person contact.
• Put rubbish out for kerbside collection.
• Sign up to our daily Covid-19 newsletter for essential advice and a full summary of the day's news and developments. Register or sign in here and select Top News Stories
What you can't do
• If they don't live in your household, you can not visit or socialise with others outside your household - even elderly family members.
• Go out on the water. That includes fishing, surfing, boating, kayaking. Anyone who does could need rescuing, putting themselves, Coastguard volunteers and staff and health professionals in harm's way.
• Share custody of children if the parents or caregivers live in separate towns/cities.
• Go hunting. You might think you're safe and well away from other people but should you get lost, injured or need other help, you put search and rescue teams at risk and could burden health and emergency service resources.
• Use public playground equipment. Councils' playgrounds in parks, reserves and recreational areas have closed.
What are essential businesses?
Businesses that are essential to the necessities of life, and those that support them. This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support.
What businesses can remain open during lockdown?
• Dairies, with a one-in-one-out rule. They cannot sell cooked food.
• Meals-on-wheels and whole-food delivery (eg subscription food boxes).
• Self-service laundries, with 2m physical distancing to be enforced.
• Bunnings, Placemakers, Mitre 10 and other retailers essential to the supply chain for building and construction can stay open to trade customers for essential purposes only.