Another day, another positive sign in New Zealand's fight to eliminate Covid-19.

The Ministry of Health announced yesterday dozens of Covid-19 community-based testing centres around the country are closing down.

The announcement came as Kiwis around the country got out and about to enjoy the long weekend - a welcome holiday break under the more relaxed restrictions of level 2.

The country also recorded its eighth consecutive day without a new case of the virus, which has infected almost 6 million and killed more than 364,000 worldwide, including 22 in New Zealand.

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While almost 1500 others here have been infected, all but one - an Aucklander aged in their 50s - have recovered. The remaining unwell person is not in hospital.

Some district health boards were now starting to tell people to go back to their GPs for Covid-19 swabbing, the ministry said yesterday.

Some community-based Covid-19 testing sites are to be shut down. File photo / Sylvie Whinray
Some community-based Covid-19 testing sites are to be shut down. File photo / Sylvie Whinray

Each board would make its own decision on how best to provide testing in future, which could be a mix of community-based testing centres, mobile services or primary care.

"DHBs and PHUs (public health units) have done significant testing over the last few weeks and we're very pleased with the surveillance data that shows the Covid-19 prevalence in all New Zealand population groups is now extremely low."

The ministry had told boards to make sure there was equitable access to testing for those who have symptoms consistent with Covid-19, with tests likely to drop as the focus went on those showing symptoms.

"If we were to see increases in cases, then we would reconsider our testing approach."

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The ministry was still finalising its sentinel and surveillance testing strategy, to be considered by Cabinet next week, with GPs hoping the test remained free.

"We expect [free testing] to continue if the patient fits what we call the case definition," College of GPs medical director Dr Bryan Betty said.

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More than 3020 tests were completed by labs on Friday, bringing the total number to 278, 872.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has left the door ajar to move the country from alert level 2 to level 1 in less than four weeks.

But she and health chief Ashley Bloomfield have also warned about the "long tail" of Covid-19 and the possibility of a second wave - especially as the size limit on social gatherings increased to 100 on Friday.

Cabinet will look at whether New Zealand should move to level 1 on June 22, but pressure - including from Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters - was mounting to do so earlier.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is cautious about a future move to alert level 1. File photo / Hagen Hopkins
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is cautious about a future move to alert level 1. File photo / Hagen Hopkins

Kiwis are still being encouraged to do their bit to stop any future resurgence of the virus, with the NZ Covid Tracer app at 458,000 registrations by yesterday. The app helped identify and trace any future cases.

The country's continued positive steps towards elimination of the deadly virus had also spurred more Kiwis to explore the country - borders remain closed to foreigners and non-residents - despite a rainy Queen's Birthday long weekend for many.

Aucklanders had a brief reprieve, with sunshine yesterday, but wet weather is expected to return today across the city and much of the North Island.

There are heavy rain warnings for Northland and Coromandel Peninsula today, a heavy rain watch for Auckland and strong wind watch for all areas north of Huntly, including Huntly and Coromandel Peninsula, according to the MetService.

There was sunshine for Auckland kids at this Henderson playground yesterday, but the rain comes today. Photo / Dean Purcell
There was sunshine for Auckland kids at this Henderson playground yesterday, but the rain comes today. Photo / Dean Purcell

It's better news for many South Islanders, with settled and, in many cases, bluebird days today.

Rain will creep as far south as Christchurch tomorrow, but those in the deep south will be spoilt with more sunny weather.