New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown will be managed by a leadership team of some of the country's top officials.

That team is Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, Sarah Stuart-Black, Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, Mike Bush, Commissioner of Police, and Dr Peter Crabtree.

"We know this is a difficult time for New Zealanders," said All of Government Controller John Ombler.

"There has been an enormous amount of work underway for this response," he said.

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"The leadership team is pulling together the many agencies and has been running for about two weeks, Ombler said.

"We have a very large number of public servants, Government and private sector working on the response.

"The national crisis management centre has been activated since Thursday March 12.

"It's clear that there will be significant disruption to everyone but we're acutely aware that the alternative is far worse."

Any entity involved in the Covid-19 response, health services, pharmacies key public services such as Kiwirail and NZ post, teachers, building and construction workers, news media and supply chains, food produces, biosecurity and animal health staff and social services are all deemed to be essential services.

Anyone entering New Zealand is still required to self-isolate for 14 days, although the number of people entering the country has significantly reduced since New Zealand was shut to tourists, Ombler said.

"Together us and the community will be able to unite against Covid-19 and put New Zealand in the best chance for recovery."

The exact time of alert level 4 lockdown will be announced closer to the time.

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"There's plenty of food to go around ... it's unfortunate that people are not heeding that."

Police are aware of the continued panic-buying and may be called in to help if needed.

Mike Bush, Commissioner of Police, Strategic Operations Oversight said the Defence Force is prepared and willing to work in communities if needed.

"It's about education and encouragement, we don't want to get into a place where we have to enforce these directions, but we will if required."

"If people don't comply, we will be looking to enforce these things."

More police will be in the communities immediately.

Police will intervene to keep supermarkets safe and maintain order if needed.

Each department of state continues to do its job in reacting to Covid-19, with the leadership team to support these efforts.

Ombler reiterated that these restrictions are to "save lives" and limit the number of those affected by Covid-19 and he hoped that people would respect this.

Bush encouraged neighbours to look out for each other, "but if you're hearing something that really concerns you, please call us."

Police remain committed to responding to family harm incidents.

"You're not absolutely locked inside your house, you can go outside, you can go for a walk, but please keep 2m away from people. And if you're coughing and spluttering, for goodness sake don't go outside at all," Ombler said.

More information on self-isolation will be available on the MoH website. "This is going into somewhat of the unknown for some of us, if not many of us ... it's a real opportunity to think about what other people need and help other people," Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield said he did not know the exact location of the community transmission in Auckland, but expected all Aucklanders to take every precaution.

Freight and logistics remain an essential service, with details still to be worked out on if dairies and superettes are an essential service.

Stuart-Black said powers will be enacted under a national state of emergency, with likely powers including providing for the conservation of fuel and other essential supplies, closing roads, preventing people from partaking in activities that make the situation worse, excluding people from places and prohibiting and regulating traffic.

Stuart-Black said powers will be enacted under a national state of emergency, with likely powers including providing for the conservation of fuel and other essential supplies, closing roads, preventing people from partaking in activities that make the situation worse, excluding people from places and prohibiting and regulating traffic.

Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, Sarah Stuart-Black, outlines the powers that will be given to officials with the state of National Emergency declared. Video / Mark Mitchell

"I can't imagine that New Zealanders won't see that this is the right thing to do ... if we have to use those powers (and bring in the Defence Force) I'll be disappointed," Ombler said.

Bloomfield said all MPs have been briefed, as has the opposition's spokesperson on Health. Many MPs are expected to relocate themselves in their electorates in preparation for the next few weeks.

There will likely be more "talking heads" in daily updates on the Covid-19 situation. The best person to speak on the issue will do so, Ombler said.

Vets and animal services are also an essential service.

Details of new cases revealed

The Ministry of Health has released details about some of the latest 36 patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

There were 36 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed today by Bloomfield. Details of 19 of those have now been released.

Thirteen of them are in Auckland - including a boy and a teenager - and one each in Marlborough, Tasman, Manawatu, Waikato, Canterbury and Dunedin.

There are six cases in their 20s, one in their 30s, two in their 40s, four in their 50s, three in their 60s and one case aged over 70, in the Waikato.

No details are available about the remaining 17 cases as yet.

The Prime Minister today announced that the alert level for the whole country would be raised to 3, giving people time to prepare before moving to Alert Level 4 in 48 hours.

That will see the entire country in lockdown, apart from essential services such as healthcare and supermarkets.

New Zealand has a total of 102 confirmed cases but Bloomfield said he expects to see more cases each day, with 1100-1500 lab tests carried out daily.

Over half of today's 36 new cases were directly linked to overseas travel - people who have returned to New Zealand recently.

Information about their flight numbers and times is being made available on the Ministry of Health website.

Most of the remainder are close contacts of previously confirmed cases or associated with events where there were confirmed cases, such as the Hereford cattle conference in Queenstown earlier this month.

There still remain two cases where it's not clear where the infection came from - they are in Auckland and Wairarapa. These are thought to be cases of community transmission.