Coronavirus: Why New Zealand will stay at alert level 2, despite having just one active case

There is only one active case of COVID-19 left in the whole of New Zealand - and the country has now gone for seven days in a row with no new cases.

But amid the celebrations, there is an urgent and growing demand for the country to move to alert level 1 now as attention turns from the health of people to the health of the economy.

Michael Barnett, Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive, says there's little rationale for staying in lockdown.

"There's absolutely no reason to extend the economic pain any further, there's no reason to extend the job uncertainty," he told Newshub. 

Even those able to operate under Level 2 are struggling - and pressure is mounting, especially in the hospitality industry.

Hospitality New Zealand president Jeremy Smith says restrictions make things tricky. 

"The Level 2 restrictions we currently have make it very difficult for us to run a business with the three Ss," he said.

So why aren't we at Alert Level 1?

The Prime Minister has said she'll review it in 10 days time - and she's sticking to that

"I expect that we'll move fairly quickly as we see, in New Zealand's ongoing success, on the 8th of June we're reviewing the settings again."

Grant Robertson says our economy is already more open than most others.

"We'll take the opportunity, as we have planned, on 8th of June to review our settings. The worst thing of all for New Zealand would be to go backwards again."

But even some medical experts are at odds over when to move to Level 1.

University of Auckland Professor Des Gorman says we should have moved "yesterday".

"The level of risk now posed by COVID-19 is beginning to be dwarfed by the level of risk from the economic fallout and the harm that that will cause."

But others want a bit more incubation time.

University of Otago Professor Michael Baker says there could be more cases in hiding.

"The problem is the cases we don't know about - and that's what all this effort's about: extinguishing these chains of transmission."

Dr Siouxsie Wiles agrees.

"We just want to make sure that there are no little cases out there that we don't know about, so slow and steady wins it."

Their message is simple: win the COVID-19 battle, then take on the economic war.