A frontline healthcare worker who is having to quickly upskill for the potential disastrous scenario of a Covid-19 spread in New Zealand is urging Kiwis to respect the lockdown.

As New Zealand moves into alert level 4 at 11:59pm tonight, many Kiwis are still wondering whether there are ways they can maintain certain habits that they have when not in lockdown, including going outdoors for non-essential activities.

The message from the Government is clear: for the next four weeks, New Zealanders need to stay home.

A registered nurse who works in ED and the Air Ambulance has told the Herald she is worried Kiwis' "she'll be right" attitude about the lockdown rules will see New Zealand's lockdown extended - and potentially even lead to deaths.

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"I absolutely DO NOT understand why people are looking for the small print in all of this to seek ways to avoid staying at home. Look at Italy. Look at Spain," the healthcare worker, who asked not to be identified, said.

"If we don't get this right, this will get out of hand very quickly. I am a registered nurse. I work in ED and the Air Ambulance. Right now, I am sitting with a manual and online learning to upskill myself in a hurry so I can assist in the ICU when this all goes pear shaped.

"Sitting here learning more to help the unfortunate people this virus gets, and you all are looking for ways to flout the rules! Unbelievable!"

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The health worker is begging New Zealanders to consider every move they make outside their home and warns that a disrespect of the lockdown means people will die.

"Do you not realise the implications of selfish actions such as leaving your property? People will die," she said.

"For goodness sake people, we are being asked for such an intensely small sacrifice for the good of everyone. Stop looking for ways to cheat the system. Take four weeks to rest and recuperate. Please don't be dumb. Please stay home. It could be you or your loved ones that die."

Police commissioner Mike Bush today warned New Zealanders to not even think about driving to the beach or a park for some fresh air once the lockdown starts.

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Bush told Newstalk ZB host Chris Lynch that people should only go out in their cars to get essential supplies.

"What happens if somebody wants to go for a drive, say to a local beach or get out and about to a local park?" Lynch asked. "Are they in a position to drive there?"

"There's a short answer to that - no they're not," replied Bush. "You only go out in your vehicle if you need to go and get essential food supplies, essential medical supplies or medical treatment. Otherwise, please stay at home."

A state of emergency has today been declared in New Zealand.

Police will move around the country and ask questions of people outside of their homes. They will ask people about their activities.

The state of emergency empowers Sarah Stuart-Black, Civil Defence director, with special powers to combat Covid-19, including powers of requisition and closing roads, and stopping people from doing certain activities.

The legislation allows the state of emergency to remain in place for seven days, but this can be extended. Stuart-Black said these powers sat alongside other powers to ensure essential services could stay up and running. It would be great if she didn't have to use those powers, she said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website