Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has prepared New Zealanders for a "tough" four weeks ahead, but warned, "the alternative is worse".

Ardern has given her final press conference before a nationwide lockdown begins at midnight tonight to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

As the lockdown takes hold, police will move around the country and ask questions of people outside of their homes and about their activities.

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People will be allowed to get fresh air, but any common space like a surface at a playground presented risk. When asked about whether people could go hunting or fishing, Ardern said to stay home.

"Act like you have Covid-19, it will help guide your decisions," she said.

"I know how hard this will be, especially for New Zealanders who face the first day unemployed and with an uncertain future.

"It won't be easy, but the alternative is worse."

There are 50 new confirmed or probable cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 205. Community transmission is attached to cases in Marist College and from the World Hereford Cattle conference in Queenstown, while there are four other cases of community transmission.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has one simple message for Kiwis - "New Zealanders should act as if they have Covid-19" and stay at home. "Breaking the rules could kill someone close to you."

Ardern said the ability of New Zealanders to follow to rules was crucial.

"If people don't stay home, other than to go to the supermarket, visit your GP or to get some fresh air close to your home, you risk spreading the virus and you risk getting it yourself," she said. "Breaking the rules could kill someone close to you and that is why it is so important.

"I know how hard this is going to be for New Zealanders already living in overcrowded, cold and damp accommodation, how hard it will be for our elderly and those who live on their own.


"[But] we want people to stay at home so we can beat the virus … this plan is our best shot at success.

"This is not the time to be relaxed and flexible. We do need tough rules to win the battle ahead."

Ardern added border enforcement would step with up to 10,000 Kiwis expected to come home by the end of the month.

"Every New Zealander coming through our border will be screened, if they are symptomatic, they will be tested and they will be put in isolation in an approved facility. If they are not symptomatic but they have no plan or ability to self-isolate they will also be placed in an approved facility. If they live in a city outside of the one in which have landed and have no ability to transport themselves home whilst maintaining isolation, they will also be placed in an approved facility," she said.

"Those who are recent arrivals who do have an appropriate self-isolation plan will be checked on by police in the days that follow. If they are not following requirements they will be fined and they will be quarantined.

"These measures are tough but reflect the higher risk New Zealanders pose through no fault of their own … these are the measures we must take."