All confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand will be placed quarantine facilities from now on.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced the change at a press conference on Thursday, moments after revealing there are 13 new cases of coronavirus linked to an outbreak in south Auckland.
The use of quarantine facilities marks a major departure from how positive cases were managed by health officials when New Zealand was last at level 3, as cases earlier in the year were told to simply self-isolate in their homes.
Dr Bloomfield says the mandatory quarantine will apply to both new cases and, if necessary, close family members who might be at risk.
"[It] shows how serious we are about limiting any risk of ongoing transmission - even in self-isolation and including to others in the household," he added.
"A reminder, these facilities have been set up specifically and have excellent processes and resources in place to look after people with COVID-19, including health staff on site at all times.
"It will help us avoid any further inadvertent spread into the community as part of our overall response."
Dr Bloomfield says health officials will follow the same process that they use when transferring a person from managed isolation or the airport to a quarantine facility.
While he admitted "there was some reservation" to quarantine from the initial south Auckland cases, the Director-General of Health said there's very little push-back now.
"Having spoken with the public health unit again today, everyone's quite comfortable about this [quarantine]. That's proceeding and it's been facilitated," Dr Bloomfield said.
"There are benefits for the cases and their family - quite clearly - and they see the benefits for the wider community."
On Tuesday, New Zealand's 102-day streak without a case of community transmission was broken when it was revealed four people from the same south Auckland family had contracted the disease.
Auckland's was escalated to COVID-19 alert level 3 at midday on Wednesday in response, with the rest of the country moving to alert level 2.
Auckland's level 3 lockdown is scheduled to end at midnight on Friday, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not ruled out extending it further if required.