New Zealand is in its first day of alert level 4 lockdown after a case of COVID-19 was detected in Auckland's community.
Nine other people have since tested positive for the virus, all of whom have been epidemiologically linked to the original case, Case A - a 58-year-old man from Devonport.
The man, who is infected with the Delta variant, has been genomically linked to the surging outbreak across the Tasman in New South Wales - however, he has not been matched with any of the recent returnees from Sydney, who have spent time in managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQ).
Nearly 70 locations of interest in Coromandel and Auckland have been identified. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said earlier health officials were anticipating a significant number of potential exposure sites in Auckland, as the majority of the new cases and their close contacts are in their 20s and have spent a lot of time "out and about".
Both Auckland and Coromandel will remain at alert level 4 for at least a week.
What you need to know:
- New Zealand entered alert level 4 lockdown at 11:59pm on Tuesday
- there are now 10 cases of COVID-19 in the current cluster after six were identified on Wednesday morning and a further three in the evening
- one is a fully vaccinated Auckland City Hospital nurse who was a close contact of the original case. Another is an Avondale College teacher
- the original case, Case A - a tradesperson infected with the Delta strain - lives in Devonport on Auckland's North Shore and is a 58-year-old male. He visited several private residences
- one of the cases is an Auckland University of Technology student who attended a lecture with 84 other people on Tuesday
- there are nearly 70 locations of interest, the dates of which go back to August 3
- everyone aged 12 and over must wear a mask when visiting essential services, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. This becomes mandatory from 11:59pm on Wednesday
- vaccinations will resume from 8am on Thursday and anyone aged 40+ is able to book a vaccine from today
- click here for all locations of interest
- Do you have a question about lockdown? Send an email in confidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These live updates have finished.
9:35pm - A lot has happened regarding the COVID-19 outbreak - from arrests, to new cases, to new rules.
Here's a summary of what went on during New Zealand's first day in lockdown.
9:05pm - The Ministry of Health has added even more locations of interest, bringing the total to nearly 70.
8:55pm - An Air New Zealand crew member has tested positive after flying from Japan to Aotearoa, landing on Sunday.
There is no evidence their infection is linked to the current outbreak.
The staff member tested positive on Wednesday during as part of their regular surveillance testing. They are fully vaccinated.
"There are significant precautions in place for our crew operating to international destinations set out by the Ministry of Health, and we are confident our people are following the protocols diligently. These include taking private transport to and from their layover hotel, isolating in the hotel and wearing PPE at all times while on layover," Air New Zealand says.
The staff member is now isolating following advice from the Ministry of Health.
Their last flight was NZ90 and arrived on August 15.
8:35pm - The Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) says 59 out of 60 of its community pharmacies that are delivering COVID-19 vaccines will reopen on Thursday.
Some of the community vaccination centres will also open tomorrow.
"The sites reopening will be operating at a reduced capacity so that we can ensure appropriate health and safety measures are in place, including social distancing provisions. We will also be providing further protective equipment and additional surface protection and cleaning," ADHB says.
"The sites that are reopening tomorrow include Manurewa, Otara, Henderson and Westgate. Our other centres will be reopening in a phased approach. Details of all vaccination sites across metro Auckland can be found at immunisation.northernregion.health.nz."
They say texts and emails will be sent to advise people who need to reschedule their appointments.
"The priority across all of our sites during this lockdown period is to ensure that staff and public are vaccinated safely. Vaccination is a critical part of the fight against COVID-19 and we encourage anyone who is booked into these sites to please turn up for their appointments unless they receive a text or email," they say.
"If you are feeling unwell or have any symptoms, or if you have been to one of the locations of interest linked to the COVID-19 cases, please stay at home and isolate. If you are attending an appointment, please wear a mask, ensure you're social distancing, and follow any sanitation requirements."
8:25pm - The Australian state of Victoria is going to class New Zealand as a 'red zone' under its travel permit system, meaning no Kiwis will be able to travel there.
Non-Victorians are not eligible for a red zone permit to enter Victoria. Victorians are eligible for red zone permits but conditions apply, and they must get tested and quarantine at home for 14 days upon arrival.
In addition, New Zealand is an orange zone retrospectively from 12:01am August 4 until the time red zones come into effect.
If people in the state have been in New Zealand any time after 12:01am on August 4, then they're asked to get tested and isolated until they get a negative result.
8:15pm - Epidemiologist Michael Baker says if the case linked to the border is the missing link, meaning if we know where they got sick, then it could mean a shorter lockdown.
He believes it is good news in multiple ways if this is the case that introduced it, and if we know how the virus got in, then we can stop it from happening again.
"The beauty of lockdowns is it's the ultimate contact tracing… It's essentially a wet blanket on the virus across the country," he says.
"No one is doing this lightly and there are of course economic difficulties… but hopefully we come out to a virus free New Zealand."
7:35pm - The police have issued a reminder of how to wear a mask, given that it will become compulsory to wear one in all businesses from 11:59 tonight.
Using police dog Kase, they show that a face covering should fully cover your nose, mouth and chin.
7:20pm - Avondale College principal Lyndy Watkinson has written to parents about the case at the school.
She says the school will be closed until at least August 31.
"With today's news, our focus has very much moved to the health and wellbeing of our communities, and school study has become secondary to this," she wrote in an email to parents and students.
"School exams will not proceed next week, and students who are able to study should focus on homework, assessments and learning activities that they have been set in recent weeks. I anticipate that teachers will be in a position to provide distance learning next week."
6:45pm - The Ministry of Health says nine of the cases have been linked to other community cases and the remaining case has been linked to the border.
They also gave an update on the three cases announced an hour ago.
- a man in his 20s who is the partner of a known case that was reported as a positive case this morning
- a woman in her 60s - interviews are underway to determine any link to existing cases. This woman has a connection to the border.
- a woman in her 20s who has a connection with another case reported today.
In addition, two cases announced at 1pm today have now been linked to existing cases. They are:
- a teenage woman who was a close contact of a case reported today
- a man in his 20s who visited the household where three of the cases reported today reside.
The Ministry of Health says the movements of all cases are continuing to be investigated. Investigations are also continuing at Auckland City Hospital, where one of the cases worked for four shifts during their infectious period.
6:40pm - The Western Australia government will class New Zealand as a 'low risk' state following the latest cases.
This means anyone arriving from, or transiting through New Zealand into WA will be required to self-quarantine in a suitable premises for 14 days
6:25pm - More locations of interest have been added for Auckland.
6:20pm - An Auckland University of Technology student is among the positive cases.
AUT confirmed to Newshub that Vice chancellor Derek McCormack told staff in an email that the student was at a social institutions (SOSC 583) lecture in WG403 at the City Campus between 11:30am and 1pm on Tuesday and was infectious at the time.
There were 84 other people in the lecture, he said.
"While this is not yet a complete picture, we are working closely with [the Auckland Regional Public Health Service] and will provide more information as soon as we get it," he said in his email, which was provided to Newshub.
"You will be contacted if you are identified as a close contact and provided with information about isolating and getting tested."
5:55pm - SkyCity says it is undergoing a deep clean and is working with public health services after an infected person visited the casino main gaming floor between 1:15am and 3am on August 14.
They are also reviewing surveillance footage from the period the customer was on site.
SkyCity says it is sending a note to all members asking them if they were in the location on that night to monitor their health and be tested if they experience flu-like systems.
5:40pm - There are three new COVID-19 cases in the community since the 1pm update, the Prime Minister's Office has confirmed.
Additional information on these will be given at tomorrow's briefing.
5:25pm - Even more locations of interest have been added, including The Warehouse New Lynn and a bakery in Birkdale.
5:20pm - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has just told RNZ that "there have been several more cases", although there are less than 10.
He was unable to say if the cases are going to be contained to Auckland and Coromandel.
5:10pm - Streets were empty and testing centres were packed as Aotearoa awoke to its first day of its lockdown.
Cars were lined up down streets as demand for COVID-19 tests grew at testing centres, but despite the heavy traffic near there, the usually packed Auckland motorways were almost empty.
4:50pm - The Ministry of Health has updated the locations of interest.
4:35pm - Dunedin City Council is making all on-street metered parking free until further notice, with no maximum time limits, to support the city's essential workers.
The Moray Place and Great King Street carparking buildings will also be open for parking free of charge during their normal hours.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins says the return of lockdown will be a challenge for people and businesses across Dunedin, but he is confident in the city's ability to do what needs to be done.
"This will be difficult for those whose home isn't a sanctuary, and our city's businesses and staff - particularly those in the events, tourism and hospitality industries," he says.
"We know this is tough, but this lockdown is the best, most effective way to combat the Delta variant. We don't have to look far to see how much more damage can be done by not responding so decisively."
Hawkins urges everyone to follow official advice, including staying home where possible, sticking to your own bubble, washing your hands, getting tested if you're sick, wearing a mask whenever you're outside the house, and scanning QR codes everywhere you go.
4:25pm - Auckland Council's Catering Services team is providing support to the Auckland City Mission during lockdown.
From Thursday, they will prepare 250 meal packs each day to give to the city's rough sleepers and those in need.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says those who are most vulnerable in the community can face an even harder time than others during lockdown.
"Each pack contains items including a filled sandwich roll, a salad bowl, sweets, fruit, muesli bar and either a scone or a muffin," he says.
Auckland Council's head of catering operations Tava Feagaiga is part of the team behind the packs, and says the food is designed to keep the person full for the day.
"There's lots of calorie dense foods such as sandwiches and muffins. But we also want to give people the sustenance they need, so we pop salad bowls and fruit in there too," Feagaiga says.
4:10pm - Supermarkets are so under the pump in lockdown that they're advertising for more casual workers.
New World Long Bay has put the call out on Instagram, asking for people to help stocking shelves and at checkouts.
4pm - A witness has told Newshub there are a lot of students getting tested at the New Lynn testing station.
This comes after an Avondale College teacher tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, all staff and students are considered close contacts and are required to self-isolate and get tested.
3:55pm - ProCare, which is New Zealand's largest network of primary healthcare professionals, is reminding people that many general practices are still open even though the country is in lockdown.
CEO Bindi Norwell says while most general practices have moved to virtual or consulting over the phone, some are open for appointments that can't be done online, such as cancer screening, giving childhood vaccines, and testing for COVID-19.
"It's essential that if people need medical attention that they reach out to their general practice by phoning ahead and finding out what support is available," she says.
"Last time the country was in alert level 4, people held off from seeking treatment, and then in some instances found themselves in a worse place down the track because they delayed seeking initial treatment. We would be very disappointed to see this happen again, and think it's really important that we take all of the learnings from the last lockdown and apply them now that we find ourselves in lockdown again."
Norwell adds that patients can be assured that practices have appropriate health precautions in place to protect them, so there's no need to stay away.
3:45pm - A reminder that if you need to get tested, a list of all testing sites in New Zealand is available here.
3:25pm - A stranded family is calling for more flights to be scheduled to help them and others in a similar situation get home.
Last night, the Government gave 48 hours for people to get to their usual homes so they can stay there during lockdown.
Samantha Cameron was finishing up a ski holiday in Wanaka with her family when news of the lockdown broke.
Although Air New Zealand has increased the size of the aircraft it's flying between Auckland and Queenstown, adding just under 50 additional seats to each flight, so far Cameron has had no luck.
"Air NZ was very nice but there was no capacity to get us home within 48 hours, the earliest flight is Friday and we have no idea whether we will be allowed to travel on it."
3:08pm - In a statement, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has issued a stern warning after police broke up three protests on the first day of lockdown.
"Police has today dealt with three different protests across different parts of the country," he said. "These include:
- Police arrested four people in relation to breaching the Health Act notice following a protest in Auckland's CBD this afternoon. Those arrested have been taken back to the Auckland Custody Unit and a decision will be made on charges. The group of demonstrators are no longer present
- Four people have been arrested this morning following an anti-lockdown protest outside the Tauranga Police Station. Police made a number of attempts to engage with around 20 people gathered outside the station, however, four were taken into custody when they repeatedly refused to comply with alert level 4 restrictions. Charging decisions have yet to be made
- Police responded to protest activity outside Nelson Police Station earlier today. All those present were spoken to and urged to comply with the restrictions in place under alert level 4. Around 20 people were issued a verbal warning and moved on.
"We urge everyone to stay at home and we will continue to work with our partners and the public to ensure everyone complies with the restrictions in place under alert level 4.
"The vast majority of New Zealanders are doing the right thing and abiding by the alert level restrictions, and these protestors represent a very small number of people who are not."
3pm - To recap, all Avondale College staff and students are considered close contacts and are required to isolate and get tested.
One of the four cases announced this morning was a 25-year-old teacher at the west Auckland school.
In a statement released to its website, the school confirmed all staff and students of the college must stay in self-isolation at home for 14 days.
2:55pm - A spokesperson for SkyCity says the business has "robust contact tracing protocols in place to be able to respond rapidly" after its casino was confirmed as a location of interest this afternoon.
"Today at 1:30pm we were advised by Auckland Regional Public Health that a customer who visited the SkyCity Auckland precinct on the night of Saturday, August 14 has tested positive for COVID-19," the spokesperson said.
"The health and wellbeing of SkyCity's employees and customers is paramount and we have robust contact tracing protocols in place to be able to respond rapidly.
"We are awaiting information from the Auckland Public Health unit that will assist us in reviewing our systems, including surveillance footage from the period that the customer was on-site."
2:40pm - A family-owned dairy in Mt Eden has temporarily closed after a casual contact was identified in their household.
A notice outside Galaxy Dairy, a photo of which was later shared to Facebook, says a household member was informed they were a casuaul contact on Wednesday morning.
The owner of the dairy said as a result, they have decided to keep the store closed until the other members of the household have returned negative results. A full clean will also be performed as a precaution.
2:25pm - Here's a recap of the latest information regarding the Auckland outbreak.
- Seven people have now tested positive in the community. The six cases confirmed on Wednesday are all epidemiologically linked to the original case announced on Tuesday, Case A
- The first case, Case A, is a 58-year-old tradesman from Devonport on Auckland's North Shore. He has not been vaccinated. His wife, who is fully vaccinated, has tested negative twice
- One of the four cases announced on Wednesday morning is a co-worker of Case A. They live with three flatmates, who make up the other three cases
- The flatmates are a 21-year-old female health professional at Auckland City Hospital; a 25-year-old teacher at Avondale College; and a 29-year-old man
- The two further cases announced on Wednesday afternoon are friends of the current cases and had spent time with them recently. They are a 21-year-old female and 19-year-old male
- Case A has been genomically linked to the New South Wales outbreak - however, genome sequencing has yet to find a match between him and any of the recent cases who returned to New Zealand from Sydney and stayed in MIQ facilities
- There have been three positive cases from Sydney since July 1. One was detected on August 9 on day one in New Zealand, and two others on August 15 on day three - they’re currently being genome sequenced. But there has yet to be a match between New South Wales returnees and Case A.
2:16pm - Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says police are overall pleased at the compliance with alert level 4 restrictions.
However, there was significant traffic in and around Auckland, he said, and some of that congestion was Aucklanders attempting to escape the city to travel to a holiday destination. A large number of vehicles were turned around.
In Nelson, about 20 people protesting against the lockdown were arrested outside the police station. Four were arrested outside the police station in Tauranga, and in the last hour, four people have been apprehended in Auckland.
"We know the vast majority comply with restrictions, but we do need compliance," he said.
Coster says he gave the protesters "plenty of opportunity" to disperse, but they failed to do so.
Rulebreakers can "expect enforcement action", he added.
Meanwhile, the Police Association has said it is unacceptable that not all officers are vaccinated. Coster says the rollout has been primarily focused on those on the frontline, and only about 4000 out of 10,000 officers have been vaccinated so far.
Coster says the enforcement approach for mask use will be similar to road policing, and police do have ability to fine people. A fine will most likely be issued if no good reason is given for failing to wear a face covering.
2:06pm - Police Commissioner Andrew Coster is now discussing compliance with alert level 4 restrictions.
Watch live here.
2pm - "Anyone who is breaking the rules may potentially put others at risk," Ardern says.
Both Ardern and Bloomfield have acknowledged the congestion around some testing sites on Wednesday morning and thanked symptomatic people for getting it done.
More will be revealed on Thursday as to whether supermarket workers be prioritised for vaccines, Ardern says.
When asked whether officials are expecting this lockdown to be extended, Ardern said she won't make any assumptions yet.
"It's not just up to chance, it's up to compliance."
1:57pm - Ardern says officials are working to "knock out some possible sources and narrow down the list of possibilities".
"We know it has come from Australia, the question is 'how' and 'when'," she says.
A potential link to MIQ is still being investigated, despite the genome sequence of Case A not yet being matched to any recent returnees from New South Wales.
1:54pm - The Auckland church identified as a potential exposure site has issued a statement to social media.
The Central Auckland Church of Christ says it is cooperating with health officials.
It has urged visitors who attended the 10am service on Sunday, August 15 to advise the Ministry of Health if officials have yet to make contact.
1:50pm - Ardern has spoken to the Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, who said local officials are working to determine if any recent arrivals had visited locations of interest.
Dr Bloomfield says information will be provided to Avondale College regarding the school's next steps after one of the cases was confirmed to be a 25-year-old teacher.
Ardern says releasing information regarding potential exposure sites "as soon as possible" is a priority, but the Government prefers to let the businesses know first before the venue is publicly listed as a location of interest.
1:44pm - Ardern says officials cannot "hand-on-heart" guarantee the South Island is not implicated in the outbreak in some way while the source of the transmission remains unknown.
All of New Zealand is currently under alert level 4, despite Auckland being the epicentre of the outbreak.
Ardern says she wants more information before the South Island "is treated any differently", as people who visited locations of interest in Auckland or Coromandel could have since travelled to the South Island.
1:40pm - Dr Bloomfield says the community transmission had not been picked up in wastewater testing, the most recent results of which were obtained on August 11.
Ardern says if there had been COVID-19 circulating in the community for weeks before Case A was announced on Tuesday, it most likely would have been picked up before then.
1:36pm - Ardern has reiterated that alert level 4 essential services are "very limited" - supermarkets, dairies, pharmacies, medical centres, testing stations, and also their suppliers. People can also order essential goods and products.
Ardern has also responded to the news that former politician Billy Te Kahika has been arrested after holding an anti-lockdown protest in Auckland's CBD.
She says she doesn't want the actions of a small number of people to characterise the public's response to the lockdown measures.
"It is disappointing that some choose to put others at risk."
1:31pm - Ardern says the possibility of the outbreak originating in a hospital is being discussed.
"Every avenue is being explored," she says.
She noted a case from New South Wales had been admitted to hospital, but the timing does not line up.
Dr Bloomfield says there is no evidence to suggest the outbreak could have originated with his patient.
1:30pm - A teacher at west Auckland's Avondale College is among the seven community cases.
"All staff and students of the college are now considered close contacts and must stay in self-isolation at home for 14 days," the school said in a statement to staff, students and caregivers.
"Even if New Zealand's national alert level changes from the current Level 4, you must still complete your full, 14-day self-isolation."
Members of the school community have been told to get tested and watch for symptoms.
1:27pm - When asked by a reporter if data modelling has provided an estimate on how many more cases could be identified, Ardern says officials are "absolutely anticipating more cases".
Dr Bloomfield says the modelling available so far suggests the cluster could grow to "between 50 and 120 cases" - but the key is finding those cases as quickly as possible.
1:23pm - A temporary suspension of the vaccination rollout will end at 8am on Thursday, Ardern says.
Vaccination centres will look different under alert level 4 conditions, and there won't be as many people permitted to enter to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
Ardern says the rollout is going as planned and age bands will continue to open up. As of Wednesday, those aged 40-plus can book their vaccination.
Vaccinations make an "enormous" difference, she said, and "breakthrough" infections are rare.
1:21pm - From midnight, it will become mandatory for New Zealanders aged 12 and over to wear masks while visiting essential businesses, such as supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations, including staff.
On vaccinations, Ardern says 55,688 doses were administered on Tuesday, a new daily record.
1:18pm - The results of wastewater testing in Rosedale on Auckland's North Shore will be made available later today.
Wastewater testing is underway at 26 other sites across New Zealand.
1:15pm - Sixteen close contacts have been identified, 14 of which have been contacted. The two others are being tracked down.
Dr Bloomfield said the young people have been "out and about" and there will be a large number of potential exposure sites.
Two important locations of interest to note are the Church of Christ in Freemans Bay and the SkyCity Casino, which was attended by a case on Saturday evening.
1:13pm - Two more people have tested positive and are connected to the existing Auckland outbreak.
The two new cases are a 21-year-old female and 19-year-old male who are friends and spent time with the existing cases.
The four other cases announced earlier on Wednesday are a work colleague of Case A, a 20-year-old male, and three flatmates - the fully vaccinated nurse, 21, a teacher at Avondale College, 25, and a male, 29.
The seven cases are all linked.
The wife of Case A, who is vaccinated, has returned a second negative test.
1:10pm - The original case originated in Australia and has been linked to the New South Wales outbreak, Ardern says.
Genome sequencing has not found a match between the original case, Case A, or any of the cases from Sydney in managed isolation facilities (MIQ).
"There are no matches to this case," Ardern said.
There have been three cases from Sydney in MIQ since July 1.
1pm - An update on the Auckland outbreak, fronted by the Prime Minister and Director-General of Health, is expected to begin at any minute.
Tune in live now on Three or on Newshub.co.nz.
12:50pm - The Foodstuffs Co-operatives, Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island, have confirmed all essential front-line, distribution and other key employees nationwide will, once again, receive a 10 percent bonus to their hours worked while in lockdown.
Chris Quin, the CEO of Foodstuffs North Island, said in a statement: "We're extremely proud and appreciative of how our teams have jumped straight back into level 4 mode, operating during these times can be extremely difficult.
"Providing the 10 percent bonus during level 4 is the right thing to do for our essential workers - it's a positive way we can show our gratitude for the critical work they’re providing right now to keep everyone safe and keep stock on shelves.
"Our number one priority is to look after our teams and supporting them during these challenging times is critically important. We are also working to increase staff access to vaccines."
Steve Anderson, the CEO of Foodstuffs South Island adds: "As we enter alert level 4 across the country we are once again asking customers to #shopnormal, be kind to our teams, look after each other and help New Zealand get through this quickly together. We've done this before - by pulling together we are confident we can do this again."
Foodstuffs defines front-line and distribution centre employees as the following: staff across all Foodstuffs retail stores nationwide (New World, PAK'nSAVE, Four Square, Gilmours, Trents, Raeward Fresh), distribution centres and small number of other impacted employees.
12:40pm - A small group of locals had set up a roadblock on State Highway 25 at Manaia on Tuesday night in a bid to stop people from spending the snap lockdown at their baches - a checkpoint Police Commissioner Andrew Coster called out as an "unauthorised" during his earlier statement.
A police spokesperson told Newshub that officers have been working with the group of local iwi members and no arrests have been made in relation to the roadblock.
"We are working with the group and actively engaging with any drivers who stop to educate them about the dangers of COVID-19 and encourage them to comply with the alert level 4 restrictions," the spokesperson said.
12:25pm - There are fears infection numbers will surge after it was reported that the four new cases are flatmates on Auckland's North Shore.
The NZ Herald reports one is a teacher and another a nurse. The teacher went to a west Auckland high school on Monday, the nurse worked at Auckland City Hospital on Monday, and one went to a church on the North Shore on Sunday morning.
They both also went to a nightclub in central Auckland on Sunday night.
One of their partners is already experiencing symptoms, although according to the NZ Herald, they haven't tested positive yet.
"It seems we could be on the cusp of a major outbreak, but as long we don't follow the path of Australia, that people adhere to the lockdown, we should be on the right track," their father told the NZ Herald.
11:55am - It's been a rocky start for Wellington Girls' College as the school struggles to readjust to at-home learning while also navigating a major IT outage.
In a video posted to Facebook, Wellington Girls' College principal Julia Davidson addressed the outage, acknowledging that the school's online learning platform is currently inaccessable.
"I think the best plan is you just hang around your computer… at the moment we can't access the website," she said. "It's whether [or not] people are going to be able to do stuff at home.
"Just be ready for anything - or nothing."
Under alert level 4, all schools and early childhood education centres are closed. Schools are therefore required to teach online and remotely.
11:45am - In his statement on Wednesday, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed officers are aware of one unauthorised community checkpoint that was erected in the Coromandel on Tuesday evening.
"We understand that some small and isolated communities feel particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, however, as during previous COVID-19 alert level 4 restriction periods, there should be no need for community checkpoints," Coster said.
"Police and other agencies remain responsible for ensuring that people comply with the restrictions under the different alert levels, and all engagement is done for the purpose of keeping all of our communities safe.
"Police will be out and about around the country and will be checking that people's travel is for essential purposes only."
An update on any enforcement activity will be provided at the 1pm press conference.
Police have also been receiving a number of enquiries regarding people's movements on Tuesday evening. Coster noted that alert level 4 only came into effect from 11:59pm, and people were able to move around New Zealand without restrictions up until that time.
There is also a 48-hour period in place from last night to allow people to travel home.
"However, police have been active on the road network, particularly around holiday hotspots, to check that people are doing the right thing, and to deal with those travelling in breach of the order," Coster continued.
You can report non-emergency situations online at www.police.govt.nz/105support or call 111 if it's an emergency.
11:42am - Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has released a statement warning that officers will have a "highly visible presence across New Zealand" to ensure Kiwis are aware - and adhering to - the alert level 4 restrictions.
"Our absolute priority is ensuring New Zealanders are safe and supported, and our focus will be on engaging, encouraging and educating people during the level 4 restriction period," Coster said on Wednesday.
"However, Police expect people are by now well aware of what is expected of them and they are asked to follow the rules. People can expect the alert level restrictions to be enforced."
Police have been highly visible since panic-buying chaos ensured after news of the community case rocked the country on Tuesday, with officers patrolling supermarkets and other essential businesses. It's hoped their presence will provide "reassurance and assist with managing crowds where required".
"We will have a visible presence across our towns, cities and on the roads to ensure people are keeping to the restrictions and that people who are travelling are doing so for essential and approved purposes," Coster said.
11:30am - To recap, four new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed this morning. All are epidemiologically linked to the original case announced on Tuesday, Case A - who is carrying the Delta variant.
One of the four new cases is a workmate of Case A. The other three are contacts of this workmate. One of the three contacts is a fully vaccinated health professional who works at Auckland City Hospital, and had been working in recent days.
Auckland City Hospital has since taken immediate action to shut down any potential spread within the facility, including stopping unnecessary movements between wards, testing all staff and patients on the ward the health professional worked on, and standing down, testing and isolating staff on the same ward.
11:24am - The Prime Minister has reiterated that entering alert level 4 was the right decision after four new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday morning.
The four new cases are all epidemiologically linked to the original case, the Devonport tradesperson - who is carrying the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Speaking on her Facebook Live, Ardern assured viewers that a snap nationwide lockdown was "the right call".
She said New Zealand was in the best possible position to receive the news of the latest cases as alert level 4 had already come into force.
"You want to hear that information while everyone's at home looking after themselves, being kind to one another, than if you aren't in a lockdown," she said.
"Then the really other important point to make is, as much as this is our first time dealing with Delta in our community, actually it is still COVID-19. And so that means we know all of the things that work well. We know that contact tracing, isolation, testing all help us. And so all those tools we've used, will work again."
11:17am - Congestion around the testing centre on College Rd in Northcote has now cleared, Auckland Transport says. The 924 bus service is no longer delayed.
11:05am - Vehicles have been lining up in their droves outside Auckland's testing centres on Wednesday morning, with the long queues causing chaos for public transport in Northcote.
The congestion around the testing centre in the North Shore suburb has caused "significant delays" for 924 bus services, Auckland Transport warned shortly after 10am.
Speaking during a live update on Facebook, Jacinda Ardern noted that "a lot of congestion" is likely at testing stations across the country.
"We always do [have congestion] at the beginning of these events, because sometimes people might have had cold and flu symptoms and just thought, 'what are the chances?' And so they then go and get a test once we're in a situation like this," she said.
The Prime Minister urged people to be patient if they are planning on seeking a test today.
"So please, if you are going to a testing station, you may need to be patient, take some food, some water - and just be prepared that it might take a little bit of time. But we really appreciate your patience."
10:55am - In her live update on Tuesday morning, Jacinda Ardern addressed why the South Island has also been plunged into lockdown - despite the original case and the four additional cases all being based in Auckland.
Speaking on Facebook Live, the Prime Minister reiterated that the source of the infection, or how the original case contracted COVID-19, remains unknown - so health officials are not yet certain the South Island can be given the all-clear.
"At the moment, we don't know where this came from, so we can't hand-on-heart say that the South Island isn't connected in some way," Ardern explained.
"So I want to have a bit more assurance before I rule it out, because if we, for instance, three days down the track, find that there either were close contacts back in the South Island - or that it somehow might be part of our original part of that chain - I'd rather know that while everyone's safely at home."
10:47am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shared a live update to her social media accounts to run through the new changes and answer common questions.
10:38am - Footage of a tussle at one Auckland supermarket has already surfaced on social media as panic buying returned with a vegeance on Tuesday.
10:30am - Public health expert Michael Baker told Newshub he's expecting to see COVID-19 spread even further across Auckland.
Meanwhile, disease modeller Michael Plank said the Delta variant is about twice as infectious.
"The national alert level change buys us some time to see results of testing and contact tracing to assess how widely the outbreak has spread."
10:29am - There have been several ferry services cancelled on Wednesday due to operational constraints caused by the snap lockdown, Auckland Transport says.
10:19am - No visitors are allowed at rest homes across New Zealand during the snap lockdown.
The Aged Care Association says nearly all rest home residents are now vaccinated against COVID-19.
10:17am - People heading home via Auckland Airport have been told to plan ahead due to entry being restricted to passengers only.
Anyone in the terminal is being told to wear a mask.
10:10am - Auckland Transport says its 924 bus services are experiencing "significant delays" due to congestion around the Northcote testing station.
10:05am - Epidemiologist Michael Baker told Newshub he expected to more than just four additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Earlier, University of Auckland disease modelling expert Shaun Hendy said the average person with the Delta variant spreads it to about six other people.
"The big question at the moment is whether we're looking at the tip of the iceberg," Dr Hendy told The AM Show.
10am - Aucklanders anxious to get tested for COVID-19 are facing four hour waits.
One man at the Northcote testing centre says he's been feeling very unwell.
"I thought I better get a test given the news," he told Newshub.
9:54am - Experts are warning there could be dozens of people out there infected with COVID-19 in addition to the five already found.
"If we can't spot that link to the border, then we're looking at a situation similar to what we faced in August in Auckland last year," said University of Auckland disease modeller Shaun Hendy. "At the time we discovered that cluster, around 50 people had been infected at that point."
"Because there’s no clear link to the border, it's also possible the virus has been spreading undetected for a significant period of time," said Michael Plank, modelling expert at the University of Canterbury. "In that case there could easily be more than 100 people infected by now and a strict lockdown is our only available option."
9:44am - A reminder that eight extra COVID-19 testing sites have been set up across Auckland to help meet demand on Wednesday. Find your local testing centre here.
9:35am - The Ministry of Health is reminding people how quickly the Delta strain of COVID-19 can spread.
"We know of instances where people have picked up Delta simply by walking past someone with it," a spokesman says.
"Please get tested if you visited a location of interest or have cold and flu symptoms."
9:20am - Auckland City councillor Efeso Collins says the supermarket he went to on Wednesday morning was "calm and relaxed".
"We got this Tamaki Makaurau," he wrote on Twitter.
9:10am - The Ministry of Health is reiterating the importance of using masks.
"Only leave your home if you need to and please wear a mask when you do," a spokesman says. "Stay in your bubble and reduce contact with others.
"Act as if you have COVID and as if others around you do too."
9:05am - Eight COVID-19 community testing sites have been established across Auckland to help meet increased demand.
They include Northcote, St Luke's, Balmoral and New Lynn. Click here for full details on testing centres.
Sites are also being set up in Coromandel and will be revealed later on Wednesday.
9am - Health officials say they're continuing to work rapidly to identify where positive COVID-19 cases have been.
"The key message from the last lockdown remains relevant: 'stay at home, save lives, be tested. This will stop any undetected spread in the community," a Ministry of Health spokesman said on Wednesday morning.
8:56am - Earlier, Immunisation Advisory director Nikki Turner said the COVID-19 vaccine rollout needs to get going again as soon as possible. It's currently paused for 48 hours due to the community outbreak.
"I think it's really important it's [the pause] as short as possible," she told The AM Show.
8:52am - A full update from the Ministry of Health is below:
There are four new cases of COVID-19 to confirm this morning. Additional details and any further cases will be announced at 1pm.
One of the four new cases is a workmate of case A, the case announced yesterday. The other three are contacts of this workmate.
One of the three contacts is a fully vaccinated health professional who works at Auckland City Hospital and had been working in recent days.
Auckland City Hospital has taken some immediate actions to shut down any potential spread. Those actions include stopping unnecessary movements between wards, testing all staff and patients on the ward the health professional worked on and standing down, testing and isolating staff on the same ward.
The ministry received the results last night of the genome sequencing for case A. It is the Delta variant.
We are undertaking further analysis to see how it could be connected to cases we know about.
These developments strongly reinforce the importance of the actions taken last night in the move to level 4 and underpin the importance of everyone keeping to the lockdown conditions.
The key message from the last lockdown remains relevant: 'stay at home, save lives, be tested. This will stop any undetected spread in the community.' The ministry will be providing its assessment later today about the extent of likely spread in the community and the length of time the virus may have been circulating in the community.
Only leave your home if you need to, and please wear a mask when you do. We know of instances where people have picked up Delta simply by walking past someone with it.
Please get tested if you visited a location of interest or have cold and flu symptoms.
Eight testing sites are being stood up in Auckland and we will be able to share details of testing sites in the Coromandel later this morning and elsewhere in the country.
Please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. And go to healthpoint.co.nz to find your local testing station, they will be updated during the day.
We know that on the first day of testing it can take time for systems to be stood up and queues can be long. Please prepare to be in a queue for some time - wear a mask, take food and water with you, take a book to read or something to watch and please be patient and kind.
Everyone is doing their best at testing stations, but the first day always tends to be busy.
8:50am - ACT leader David Seymour is outraged COVID-19 vaccinations have been paused for 48 hours.
He says it's unbelievable the Ministry of Health wasn't ready for this situation.
"We need to get the population vaccinated as fast as possible. Stopping vaccinations makes no sense."
8:44am - Earlier, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said moving to COVID-19 alert level 4 was appropriate.
"Our whole ambition here is; do it once, do it right," she told The AM Show. "Short and sharp is better than light and long and I think we all agree."
8:40am - Coromandel's Umu Cafe, one of the locations of interest, says it's shocked by the situation.
"We are lucky that this case had done the right thing and scanned in everywhere and got tested quickly after feeling symptomatic," a post on the cafe's Facebook page says.
"Thanks for all of your kind messages and calls, they do make it easier."
8:35am - Below are two of the Coromandel locations of interest.
8:32am - Here's a recap of what we know about the latest COVID-19 cases:
There are four new infections - one a fully vaccinated nurse at Auckland City Hospital - bringing community cases to five.
Genome sequencing has revealed the original positive case in Devonport has the highly infectious Delta variant and all new cases are linked to him.
Officials say one of the four new cases was a co-worker of the original infection, and the remaining three cases are household contacts.
8:30am - The College of Midwives has confirmed it isn't going ahead with planned strike action due to the COVID-19 situation.
Workers were planning to walk off the job on Thursday due to failed pay negotiations.
8:20am - Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sarah Goudie says she doesn't believe there are enough resource for community members who want to get tested for COVID-19.
Multiple locations of interest in Coromandel have been revealed after the original case visited there at the weekend.
"These are more remote areas," Goudie told Newshub. "Sure, they've got a lot of facilities - but they've only got two or three doctors.
"They haven't got a lot so what do they do? When you're in a lockdown... are you supposed to go to the doctors?"
8:10am - Need to know what you can and can't do at COVID-19 alert level 4? Click here for a lockdown reminder.
8:05am - ACT leader David Seymour is fuming the Government has halted COVID-19 vaccination for 48 hours.
"We should have been prepared for this," he said.
"Our low vaccination rates have left us a sitting duck."
8am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is confident the snap lockdown is the right decision.
The positive case in Devonport, a tradesperson, has the highly infectious Delta variant. He visited several private homes.
Ardern told The AM Show it was important to move hard and fast.
7:58am - The public is being urged to shop normally during COVID-19 alert level 4. Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin says products flew off the shelves on Tuesday.
"Old habits die hard," he told The AM Show. "The targeted things yesterday were the favourites; the toilet paper, the flour, the sugar, the pasta.
"We saw an evening with about 50 percent increased demand."
7:57am - It's expected thousands of people will seek COVID-19 testing on Wednesday. Click here for a full list of community testing centres.
7:53am - Speaking to The AM Show from Auckland's CBD earlier, Newshub reporter Alice Wilkins said many people weren't wearing or carrying masks.
7:50am - There's a warning the length of the COVID-19 lockdown announced on Tuesday could be an indication of how serious the situation is.
Auckland and Coromandel will be at alert level 4 for at least seven days, and the rest of New Zealand at least three.
"That's reflective of the fact we might be looking at a bigger cluster and it might take that long to get a sense of what we're dealing with," physics and disease modeller Shaun Hendy says.
7:40am - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says it's reassuring close contacts of the original case are being found quickly.
"That shows the system working at full speed to run this to ground," he said in a statement.
7:30am - To recap what we heard from the Prime Minister, she said the news of four additional cases of COVID-19 overnight shows the right decision was made to lock down the country.
"It just shows how quickly people are moving but it also demonstrates how important it is that we did move into level 4," she told The AM Show.
7:25am - PM Ardern says COVID-19 vaccination centres are likely to be back up and running before the originally announced 48 hour pause.
ACT leader David Seymour on Tuesday blasted the decision to pause vaccinations as "nonsensical".
"We need to get the population vaccinated as fast as possible. Stopping vaccinations makes no sense."
7:24am - Ardern says public health units are continuing to undertake contact tracing interviews and the Ministry of Health will provide more locations of interest when available.
7:23am - PM Ardern says the information about the Auckland City Hospital case came through late on Tuesday night.
"All hospitals are well versed in managing cases within facilities," she tells host Ryan Bridge.
7:21am - Jacinda Ardern is on The AM Show now. The Prime Minister says quick contact tracing helped identified the additional cases overnight.
7:15am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is appearing on The AM Show in about five minutes. You can watch that live here and on Three.
7:05am - Experts say identifying the source of the original COVID-19 case is now vital.
"The big question at the moment is whether we're looking at the tip of the icebergs," physics and disease modeller Shaun Hendy says. "It's not so much who this person may have gone on to infect... it's who infected him and does that mean there are a large number of other cases out there at the moment?"
He told The AM Show people infected with the Delta variant usually go on to infect between 5.5 and 6.5 others.
"That's an average - it could be a lot less than that or it could be significantly more. That's why it's important people check those locations of interest."
7:02am - Speaking to The AM Show earlier, National leader Judith Collins said vaccinating New Zealand against COVID-19 was key.
"We're not going to play silly games with this. Just as fast as we can, get people vaccinated."
7am - The Prime Minister's office confirmed to Newshub all COVID-19 cases identified overnight are linked to the original Devonport infection.
Meanwhile, a leaked memo to Auckland Hospital staff says there are fears of a hospital outbreak and there were several precautions being taken - particularly on ward 65.
6:38am - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's office has told Newshub there were four new cases of COVID-19 identified overnight - one confirmed to be a nurse at Auckland City Hospital.
Ardern's office said the strain of the original case has been confirmed as the highly-infectious Delta variant.
The nurse was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and was a close contact of the original Devonport case, the Prime Minister'soffice said.
Ardern will provide more details when she appears on The AM Show at 7:20am - you can watch that live here and on Three.
6:30am - A staffer at Auckland City Hospital has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email to staff seen by Newshub.
6:25am - The Opposition National Party is supporting the Government's decision to move New Zealand to COVID-19 alert level 4.
"Decisive action to prevent further community spread is what is needed when it comes to the highly-transmissible Delta variant," leader Judith Collins says.
6:15am - Across the Tasman, there are fears COVID-19 cases in Sydney will rise significantly in the coming weeks.
New South Wales, the epicentre of Australia's latest outbreak, reported 452 community cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday - the third-biggest one-day jump.
"We envisage that case numbers in the next two or three weeks will bounce around and are likely to rise substantially," state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.
On Tueday evening, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged Kiwis to stick to our lockdown rules - saying Australia was the perfect example of how things could go wrong.
"We just need to look overseas and see what has happened there because of some of the decisions of those people covered by those lockdowns who don't follow the rules - it has extended the period of time they're there."
6:10am - COVID-19 testing will be widely available across Auckland on Wednesday. Click here for a list of testing stations.
6:05am - A reminder that anyone who was at Crumb Cafe Grey Lynn last Thursday about 10am is being told to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.
The same advice goes for anyone who went to Devonport Pharmacy on Monday about 2:15pm.
There are also multiple locations of interest in Coromandel after the latest COVID-19 case spent the weekend away there. Click here for all locations of interest.
6am - Experts have said the Government's approach to the community case of COVID-19 is a necessary one.
"The reality here is that we have a country where most people are not vaccinated," said Des Gorman, a professor of medcine at the University of Auckland. "We have very poor and inadequate contact tracing.
"There's no choice but to go very hard," Dr Gorman told Newshub.
5:50am - Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands has been suspended for at least three days following the community COVID case.
The Pacific nation has also moved to COVID-19 alert level 2.
All passengers who arrived there after last Wednesday will be tested for the virus. New Zealanders can still return from Rarotonga.
5:45am - A reminder the COVID-19 wage subsidy will be reinstated on Friday if New Zealand is still in lockdown. Read more about that here.
5:40am - New Zealanders are being warned against panic buying after people flocked to supermarkets even before Tuesday's alert level announcement.
Auckland City Mayor Phil Goff is urging people to stay calm.
"Don't buy the who shelf on the basis that you're going to be locked down forever," he told Newshub. "Just do the right thing and everybody will be fine."
5:30am - Officals will on Wednesday confirm which COVID-19 strain the man is infected with. We're likely to get further details from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she appears on The AM Show at 7:20am.
5:15am - Experts have indicated the latest community case of COVID-19 is likely the highly transmissible Delta variant.
"The majority of cases coming into the country are Delta," Auckland University professor Des Gorman says. "You should assume it's Delta until proven otherwise.
"Delta is particularly infectious - it also has a greater likelihood of affecting younger people," Dr Gorman told Newshub.