The country's busiest motorways have been deserted as the country embraces the restrictions of alert level 4 in the fight against Covid-19.

On the eve of lockdown yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a state of emergency as the total number of confirmed and probable cases of the virus in the country rose to 205.

"Stay home, break the chain, save lives," she urged New Zealanders.

This morning motorways usually clogged the motorists bustling to and from Auckland fell quiet as Kiwis heeded the call to stay home.

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The scale of the change has been captured by the New Zealand Transport Agency's highway cameras which are spread across our key arterial routes.

State Highway 1 in the Bombay area at 10.11am. Photo / NZTA
State Highway 1 in the Bombay area at 10.11am. Photo / NZTA
The SH1/SH16 Central Motorway Junction at 10am. Photo / NZTA
The SH1/SH16 Central Motorway Junction at 10am. Photo / NZTA
Southbound traffic on the Northern Motorway from Tristram Ave at 9.50am. Photo / NZTA
Southbound traffic on the Northern Motorway from Tristram Ave at 9.50am. Photo / NZTA
A northbound view at the SH16/20 Interchange at 10.13am. Photo / NZTA
A northbound view at the SH16/20 Interchange at 10.13am. Photo / NZTA
The Northern Motorway, Dairy Flat, at 9.47am. Photo / NZTA
The Northern Motorway, Dairy Flat, at 9.47am. Photo / NZTA

Last week the Herald reported that New Zealand's road toll was tipped to drop to "historically low levels" as people self-isolate.

Editor of car review website dogandlemon.com Clive Matthew-Wilson had said the economy was the biggest single influence on the road toll.

"The road toll plummeted globally after the 2008 global financial crash and rose again as the economy recovered.

"In fact, the OECD found that: 'The economic downturn in 2009-10 may well have contributed to about two-thirds of the decrease in fatalities from 2008'. The same reduction is likely to occur this year; as people travel less, the road toll is likely to be substantially reduced."

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