Coronavirus poll results: Should New Zealand leave COVID-19 lockdown this week?

New Zealand's preliminary four-week lockdown period is drawing to a close, the initial alert level 4 restrictions of the COVID-19 response coming to an end this week

The official decision as to whether lockdown will be lifted or extended is to be announced on Monday - but what do New Zealanders think?

With declining daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases and the apparent low percentage of community transmission, there has been cautious optimism that a transition to alert level 3 is on the cards. Level 3 is still restrictive, but may permit the extension of some bubbles and the reopening of more businesses.

On Saturday, Newshub asked readers if they thought New Zealand should leave lockdown next week. Of the 44,768 responses, 28,716 voters - just over 64 percent - said no. The other 16,052 said yes. (The poll is not scientific and shouldn't necessarily be considered an accurate reflection of the views of the wider New Zealand population).

There are concerns that New Zealand's level of surveillance testing, in which a sample of the population is tested to check for any silent outbreaks of the virus, isn't adequate. Our current inability to contact trace quickly and efficiently is another worry if lockdown is lifted too quickly.

However work is underway on both fronts, with surveillance testing being conducted at Queenstown, Canterbury, Waikato and Auckland supermarkets this week. Officials are also looking into tracking applications that monitor people's movements via phone, making it easier for authorities to find out if someone has been exposed to an infected person.

On the other hand, there is mounting concern regarding New Zealand's economy, unemployment and how long it will take for us to recover post COVID-19. The longer the country stays in lockdown, the greater the ramifications for local business.

During the daily press conference last Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that New Zealand is "definitely not in a position to move out of level 4 early". She also warned New Zealanders that "behind one new case can sit many others". 

This week began with 19 new confirmed and probable cases - just eight days earlier, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed New Zealand's highest daily total of 89. Friday saw the confirmation of eight new cases, while 13 were announced on Saturday. New cases are continuing to decline, but the country's death toll has risen to 11.

"Our number of cases may be small, but that does not mean we have been successful in hunting this virus down," Ardern said on Monday.

"One positive can be indicative of other cases in the community."