There are four more probable Covid-19 cases in NZ - all linked to the community-based cases revealed last night - as well as one additional case in managed isolation.

Today's update was provided by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director general of health Ashley Bloomfield, four hours after Auckland moved to alert level 3 and the rest of the country to alert level 2.

Two of the new probable cases are also family of the first case, and two are co-workers of the family, Bloomfield said.

They are three adults and a teenager, all showing symptoms, and all in isolation. Their Covid-19 test results have not yet returned.

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The additional new case of Covid-19 in managed isolation is a woman in her 50s, who arrived in New Zealand from Islamabad via Dubai on August 7.

She tested positive for Covid-19 on her third day of managed isolation and is now at Auckland's Jet Park quarantine facility.

There remain 22 active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, after five previously ill people recovered from the virus.

None of those 22 people are in hospital-level care.

The Government last night activated its Covid-19 resurgence plan after announcing there were four cases new cases of community transmission in Auckland, all members of the same family.

Two of the new Covid cases travelled to Rotorua while showing virus symptoms and visited tourism spots. People in Rotorua will need to be vigilant, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

Two of the new Covid cases travelled to Rotorua while showing symptoms of the virus, it was revealed this morning.

Bloomfield said the family were in Rotorua from August 8 to 11, and visited a number of eateries.

Their trip to Rotorua had not resulted in anyone in the region being classified as a close contact, Bloomfield said.

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But he urged Rotorua residents to remain alert to symptoms of Covid-19 until further information is released about where the family visited.

The family stayed at the Wai Ora Lakeside Hotel from August 8 to 11 and visited the Skyline Gondola on August 9 from 4pm to 6pm.

They also visited the Heritage Farm and 3D Gallery on August 10 between 3pm and 4pm.

More information on other locations the family visited, including local eateries, would be released when it was known, Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield advised staff working at the Rotorua eateries who served the family be tested for Covid-19, but said other diners would be considered casual contacts.

From a health perspective, Bloomfield said it was appropriate for Rotorua to remain at alert level 2.

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Rotorua residents have rushed to get tested for Covid-19.

Health officials were still unsure if the new cases of community transmission were linked to staff working at the borders or at managed isolation facilities.

Interviews with family members who tested positive involved trying to trace their whereabouts for the past 14 days, so can take some time.

Genome testing expected over the next 24 hours is expected to offer quite a bit more information.

The revelations of new probable cases came as Auckland went into level 3 lockdown, sparking a mass exodus from the city at lunchtime - and attempts by some residents to leave the region altogether.

Motorists and truckies are backed up for several kilometres south of Auckland tonight after police closed State Highway 1 at Bombay as they began setting up checkpoints to prevent Aucklanders fleeing the city to dodge lockdown. Some motorists have tried to flee the level 3 lockdown by heading for their beachside baches, but are being urged to stay home.

208 contacts of family traced

There are about 6000 to 7000 people to test in who work at managed isolation or quarantine facilities around the country.

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Bloomfield said the long delays at testing centres in Auckland were simply because of demand, similar to the issues supermarkets were facing after being inundated by shoppers.

He said he wasn't sure when the results of environmental swabs would be back, but it wouldn't be today. He is aiming for tests to be processed within 24 hours but not everyone would receive their results in that time.

"What I can say is people will know very quickly if they do have a positive test."

Bloomfield had just received his own test results: "I'm negative".

As of midday, 208 close contacts of the family had been identified and by 4.40pm they had all been contacted by the Ministry of Health.

Most of the contacts being spoken to are from the two workplaces linked to the family members.

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They are required to stay at home because of a Public Health Act directive issued by Bloomfield.

"Because I think there is a serious and significant risk to the public ... I require the following people to do two things: to isolate at their usual home and to not go out to work until they are contacted by our national health service."

This applied to any employees of Americold in Mt Wellington, and the Dominion Rd branch of Finance Now in Auckland.

The directive also applied to any visitors to the two workplaces and anyone who lives with them or with staff members of the those places.

If any of those people require advice to access financial assistance, they should call Work and Income.

People who visited the two affected businesses and who did not follow today's directive may be moved into quarantine under Bloomfield's authority.

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As New Zealanders are urged to prepare for an imminent second wave of Covid-19, the country's top health official is demonstrating how to correctly use a face mask on social media this morning.

Bloomfield said he couldn't rule out a risk to consumers from products that came from Americold.

Today's Health Act directive would affect "at least several hundred and possibly a few thousand people" connected to the two work sites in Auckland, Bloomfield said.

Arden said they were using three ways of getting the message to people who needed to stay home: employers contacting staff, contact tracing and using a public platform to notify them directly.

Mandatory to display App QR code

A Government Covid-19 order, issued today, made it mandatory for any businesses or services to display a QR code for the Covid tracer app prominently at all entrance points, Ardern said.

Businesses have a week to comply.

Last night, more than 100,000 people downloaded the Covid tracer app. Ardern urged New Zealanders to download and regularly use it.

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"The intention here is that everyone is able to use the app wherever they go," Ardern said.

People who are not using a phone are asked to keep a manual diary of their movements should it be needed for future contact tracing.

Aucklanders strongly urged to wear masks

Anyone travelling out of Auckland via plane must now wear a face mask, Ardern said.

"While we are not requiring everyone else in Auckland to wear a face mask or covering, we strongly urge it."

One million masks have been allocated to Countdown and there are plans to distribute three million masks to those who struggle to afford or access masks.

Five million masks have been released from the Government's stocks.

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Cloth and reusable face coverings will suffice if people cannot immediately purchase a mask, Ardern said.

"If you can't get out to purchase one or expense is a barrier, please use whatever you have on hand."

Ardern said 600 people were taking calls for tele health services but there were delays. She asked people who had questions to go online if they couldn't get through.

Ardern said it was "totally understandable" that anxious people had contacted Healthline.

There were 600 people working at the call centre and a further 90 staff members added today. Another 180 will join the ranks tomorrow.

Northbound on the left. Southbound on the right. From the Ramarama overbridge, Auckland. Photo / Will Trafford
Northbound on the left. Southbound on the right. From the Ramarama overbridge, Auckland. Photo / Will Trafford

Applications for the wage subsidy scheme remain open until September 1, she said.

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"I encourage you to reach out to Work and Income and make an application if you need that support."

The Covid income relief payment remains open until November 13.

The Finance Minister met treasury yesterday to discuss financial support for Aucklanders if level 3 lasts longer than the three days.

Ardern said the country's response to the virus so far had worked but everyone needed to stick to the plan.

"Our response to the virus so far has worked ... success relies us on all working together, looking out for one another. We know how to beat this, but we also know that we don't have to look far to see what can happen."

Ardern said she needed more time to deal with an election date, once more information was available. She hoped to have more information before Sunday.

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"We've got time to deal with the date. Right now, our absolute focus is on that resurgence plan."

Ardern said she did give Opposition leader Judith Collins a briefing last night before the level 3 announcement. Since then there hadn't been much to update her on besides the new orders.

"I will continue to keep the Opposition involved ... because this is a significant health issue."

In return, she asked for some unity, saying there should be no politics at play.

New Zealand was not in a "caretaker mode" so Cabinet still had the ability to make decisions, Ardern said, but that hadn't stopped her from "reaching out" to Collins.

Alert level 3 in Auckland and alert level 2 for the rest of the country have been in place since midday today, after the first cases of community transmission since early May were confirmed yesterday.

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Those alert levels will be in place at least until midnight on Friday.

Four people in the family have tested positive and are isolating at home. A decision is yet to be made about moving them to a quarantine facility.

A man in his 50s went to his workplace, a finance company, while symptomatic. The company has been shut down and 130 people are now being tested.

Three people at his workplace are now showing symptoms.

The man's partner, who has also tested positive, works for a company with 160 staff and four sites across Auckland, which have been closed. Surfaces are also being checked for traces of Covid-19.

All close and casual contacts of the family were being tested. Close contacts were in self-isolation and would remain for 14 days. Casual contacts would not be allowed out of self-isolation without a negative test.

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Every worker at the border or in managed isolation or quarantine facilities are also being tested.

Police have set up roadblocks around the wider Auckland area in a bid to stop further community spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. Video / Will Trafford

At alert level 3, people are only allowed to travel in and out of Auckland to return home. People who were recently in Auckland are being told to be vigilant, but they do not have to self-isolate.

Police have set up nine checkpoints on the outskirts of the city to ensure travel is only being undertaken for valid reasons.

This morning Ardern urged people with symptoms to be tested, and for people without symptoms to refrain from asking to be tested.

Parliament was due to dissolve today at 11am but it has been deferred until at least Monday.

Options around the election are being explored and no decisions have been made about whether it will be delayed or not.

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National Party leader Judith Collins has called for the election to be pushed back to November, or failing that for Parliament to meet and vote on delaying it until 2021.

All aged-care facilities have closed their doors to visitors, Ardern said, as a precaution.

People are encouraged to wear masks - in Auckland when in public, and for the rest of the country in shared indoor spaces like public transport - and the Government has required people flying out of Auckland to wear masks.

It is yet to decide whether to require masks to be worn in other circumstances.