After weeks of Kiwis being urged to stay home, stay safe and wash their hands, the Cabinet will have its own hands full with a final piece of the Covid data jigsaw revealed today.

There are just two new cases of Covid-19 - continuing the single-digit daily cases of the past three weeks. This is the final release of public data before Cabinet's big decision tomorrow on when to move down to level 2.

There are also only two people in hospital, in Auckland's Middlemore and North Shore, and just 102 active cases.

Many businesses and various sectors of the economy say the country needs to be at level-2 by Wednesday night to save as many companies and jobs as possible.

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But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made clear a shift down will only be made if the health data shows it's safe.

Today's new cases are confirmed, meaning the country has had 1494 cases - 1144 confirmed and 350 probable.

One of the new confirmed cases is linked to the St Margaret's Hospital & Rest Home in Auckland.

The Ministry of Health said the individual was not a healthcare worker, but a household contact of an earlier case linked to St Margaret's. They have been in self-isolation since that case was notified.

The second person travelled from overseas, so was an imported case, the ministry said.

New Zealand's death toll remains at 21.


There are still 16 significant clusters around the country, four of which are now closed.

The ministry said the number of cases linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship increased by one, linked to an existing case.

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Yesterday laboratories processed 7287 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 190,326.

"Today's two cases remind us that Covid-19 is a tricky virus and it will keep exploiting any opportunity to infiltrate our communities," the ministry said.

"Please, continue to follow the rules for alert level 3 and play it safe. Slackening off now only gives Covid-19 unnecessary opportunities to re-establish itself in New Zealand."

The ministry urged New Zealanders to "keep your distance from others when outside your bubble".

"Particularly in recreational or leisure environments such as beaches or parks. Keep working and learning from home. And stay local, travelling only within your region."

There will be particular interest in the latest Covid-19 case numbers today because they will start to reflect the impact of alert level 3.

There was no government press conference today, but the health ministry revealed the numbers in a release.

It is day 12 of alert level 3, and yesterday there were also two new cases of Covid-19.

Cabinet will decide tomorrow whether the country was ready to move to level 2, based on the advice of director general of health Ashley Bloomfield.

Bloomfield has said he would need the latest data before providing advice, but for the moment the signs were good and there was still no indication of widespread community transmission.

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D-Day on alert level 2 is looming and the number of new cases are flat-lining, but academics caution that people without symptoms could still be spreading Covid-19 in the community.

And as Cabinet prepares to decide on moving alert levels tomorrow, there remains a lack of consensus over mask-wearing and contact-tracing capacity needed for level 2, when restrictions on movement will be far looser.

Good weather at the weekend had Aucklanders flocking to Tamaki Drive and surfers crowded Lyall Bay in Wellington - prompting concerns about the public's willingness for physical distancing, even while still at level 3.

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But barring a spike in numbers today and tomorrow, a move to level 2 this week looks increasingly likely as New Zealand is still on course on its path to eliminate Covid-19.

The New Zealand situation - we have now just 103 cases - contrasts with that in the US and UK. The number of global cases is set to hit 4 million today, and there have been 276,000 deaths.

In the UK, there have been 31,500 deaths, with lockdown continuing, and over-60s are warned they might not be able to travel overseas for a year.

Police warn Kiwis not to flout the law after hordes took to beaches yesterday despite the country still being at alert level 3.

The day started with a "mass" of surfers converging on Wellington's Lyall Bay, and as the weather heated up in Auckland many took to the city's inner bays, not just for their allowed dose of exercise, but to sunbathe and even for a children's birthday party.

Scores of people were seen along the shared path on Tāmaki Drive, appearing to show little regard for social distancing measures.

At level 3, people are allowed to head outside for exercise and hit the beach for a swim, but are not supposed to treat it as a social gathering.

A woman at an Auckland bay told TVNZ she was there with 12-year-old boys for her son's birthday, despite knowing it was against the rules.

"We do know we probably are a little borderline with the rules, but are still going ahead anyway," she said.

Images showed people sunbathing and swimming at the city's inner bays. "Maybe people are getting complacent. It almost seems like it is over," a man told One News.

But it is not over yet, and police are encouraging people to report those flouting the rules.

Police recorded about 300 level 3 breaches - about half recorded last Saturday.

The number of daily tests in the past three days has also been the highest in New Zealand so far, and is expected to continue to grow as DHBs roll out their updated surveillance testing plans from next week; 3.5 per cent of the population have now been tested.