Jacinda Ardern warns fleeing Aucklanders to stay put as COVID-19 outbreak grows

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is warning Aucklanders who fled the city after the announcement of alert level four lockdown on Tuesday they could be putting others at risk.

The Ministry of Health confirmed Auckland had one new community case on Tuesday afternoon - the first in the country for 170 days.

As a result, the Government announced a nationwide lockdown from 11:59pm - but some people appeared to ignore the official advice to stay at home and decided to try to escape the city.

Roads out of Auckland were packed with a steady stream of vehicles heading north at Puhoi at 9:30pm.

One witness told the Herald some cars were seen towing boats, jet skis and caravans.

On Wednesday, Ardern urged Kiwis to lock down and follow official health advice.

"I'm just asking everyone to follow the rules," Ardern said.

"Anyone who moved yesterday between Auckland and Coromandel - which they should not have done - will be covered by the same requirements which could potentially be seven days in [lockdown]. So I just ask everyone, even if you have other places to possibly be, we want to limit movement and we also want to limit exposure that parts of the country might have to high risk parts of the country. So just think about others in everything that you do."

She said the rules had been articulated clearly and anyone breaking them "may put others at risk".

"At this point in the outbreak it is very hard to know where lines of inquiry may end up and people may tend to think it won't affect me. But look how far we have expanded the outbreak in the past 24 hours."

Since the COVID-19 community case was announced on Tuesday afternoon, New Zealand has recorded a further six cases.

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 and also made a trip to Coromandel with his wife last week.

The locations of interest can be found here.