Why New Zealand will stay in lockdown for another four days

All of New Zealand will stay at COVID-19 alert level 4 until at least 11.59pm on Tuesday to combat the spread of the Delta variant.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday the decision was not made lightly - although she admitted Aotearoa is in "a reasonable position at this stage of the outbreak".

On Friday, there were 11 new cases recorded - three of which were in Wellington. Those three individuals had been in contact with a case in Auckland and returned home to the capital.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand's community is now 31. 

"It's early days and there's a lot we don't know… we believe the cases we have to this point in time are linked," Ardern said.

She added although a picture of the cluster is emerging, it's too early to draw any firm conclusions.

"We are dealing with a number of locations that can lead to large outbreaks - bars, schools...we are not dealing with an outbreak linked to just Auckland, with cases in Wellington."

Therefore, the decision has been made to keep the entire country at its strictest restrictions until at least Tuesday night, with a possible extension.

Ardern said Cabinet will meet on Monday to decide the next steps to take - and in the meantime, it's up to the “team of five million” to do what they've done before.

Under Level 4, all of New Zealand must stay at home unless they are shopping for essential items, going to essential work or seeking medical care.

People can exercise outside, but are asked to stay local and wear a mask if they are leaving their bubble.