Epidemiologist Michael Baker says recent COVID-19 cluster should have been contained earlier - points to communication issues

New Zealand's snap lockdown ends Sunday at 6am, Auckland will move to alert level 2, with the rest of the country shifting to level 1 - and after a week of confused messaging around who should isolate, tough new health laws have been introduced. 

Frontline testing teams worked overtime, after 50,239 tests - most in Auckland - there have been no new community cases for five days. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday a change in alert levels: "Cabinet has made the decision to move Auckland to alert level 2 at 6am on Sunday and the rest of New Zealand to level 1."

Now following a week of confused messaging around who should isolate - the Government has introduced tough new health rules, to make it clear that those contacted by health officials, like City Fitness gym-goers at Hunter's Plaza, must by law follow advice. 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the requirement under Section 70 of the Health Act means that those contacted must follow advice. They will have to first "isolate at their usual home" and "second to report for and undergo medical testing". 

Newshub revealed this week that Case L and her family were attacked online for not isolating, which Ardern called "frustrating". 

However, Case L says she was never told to isolate. The Government's Unite Against COVID-19 Facebook page, run by the Prime Minister's advisers, also said she didn't need to isolate and that Case L and her family "complied" with all the advice they'd been given. 

The Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (DPMC), whose staff run the Facebook page & advise the Prime Minister, told Newshub the advice was posted in "good faith" as it came from the Health Ministry's website and they thought it was accurate.

Professor Michael Baker says the current outbreak should've been contained earlier: "It's an outbreak that should have been manageable by contact tracing.

"It wasn't in the end because of problems with managing it and also with communication, and bad luck."

However, Professor Baker says the recent shift up alert levels was necessary and the right decision for the Government to make. 

He says revising the current alert level system is needed. He'd like to see a more nuanced approach that's more geographically targeted. 

The current outbreak was first detected with case A, a Papatoetoe High student, her mother, the sky chefs worker, and father. 

The student passed it to a classmate, Case D, creating another family cluster. 

Case I was a "casual plus" contact with the original student. Her family also got the virus. 

The MIT student and his mother, who went for a walk with Case F, make up the last family group. 

The original source of the outbreak is still unknown but Professor Baker says it's most likely a border failure, with the Sky Chefs worker being infected by someone linked to the airport.

"It's a pity that we have never found a plausible source case based on genome testing, but that can sometimes happen," Baker says. 

The shift in levels has been a reprieve for businesses, many of which have been at a complete standstill. 

Auckland business owners are delighted by the news: "We're so happy because at least our business can go back to normal."

Papatoetoe's town centre has been particularly hard hit with business leaders saying many shop owners are struggling to pay rent. 

Papatoetoe Otara Town Centre Manager Rana Judge says the town centres are "dead". 

Judge represents more than 200 businesses in Papatoetoe and Otara. 

Despite the level drop on Sunday, he says there's still fear, and it'll take time for customers to return. 

"If we're not getting any more cases, it's probably going to take at least two, three, four weeks until people come back with confidence."

South Seas Healthcare clinical director Dr Andrew Chan Mow congratulated the South Auckland community for playing their part in getting tested. 

"That's something to celebrate. But the second thing is, don't let your guard down." 

He says vigilance is key.   

"Hand hygiene, social distancing, wearing a mask. That's worked."