Coronavirus: New Zealand 'on track' ahead of alert level decision - Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand's COVID-19 cases are "on track" ahead of next week's alert level decision, the Prime Minister says.

Auckland's level 2.5 settings and the rest of the country's level 2 restrictions were extended on Monday, but both of these are being reviewed next week.

Jacinda Ardern said in an announcement on Monday that Cabinet will review Auckland's alert level on September 21 and there will be a view to increase the size of gatherings if the cluster has been contained. If this change is agreed, it would come into effect from September 23.

The rest of New Zealand will stay in alert level 2 until 11:59pm on September 21, where Cabinet has agreed in principle it will move to alert level 1. This is contingent on case numbers staying as they are and this move will be confirmed on Monday when Cabinet meets again.

Ardern said on Thursday that the number of cases New Zealand has, the wider "risk profile" and what modelling says will help inform Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield's advice to Cabinet on the potential alert level move.

"[Modelling and data] does say we're on track. Our plan, once again, is working, it's doing what we intend," she told reporters.

There were no new community cases announced on Wednesday, marking the third day in a row where no new infections were linked to Auckland's resurgence.

The last time the country moved from level 2 to level 1, New Zealanders had spent 26 days at level 2 and there had been 17 days of no new cases.

"We always need to be a bit cautious because we are a country who's adopted a strategy of eliminating and then going full freedom, so you have to be careful when you go to those full freedoms that you're ready."

Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty Images

Ardern said on Monday that modelling for the Ministry of Health suggested there's a 25 percent chance cases could move outside of the Auckland region. This is due to inter-regional travel posing a risk of the virus' spread throughout the rest of the country.

"We haven't had many days without new cases appearing in Auckland and it only requires one person travelling and attending a super-spreader event somewhere else in the country and we could be looking at further restrictions elsewhere," she said at the time.

"While no new community cases is not a measure in and of itself for moving down levels, as we know more cases will emerge from this cluster's tail, these cases can continue to pose risks."