After nearly a month of coronavirus lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed it is paying off, with the nation set to move into alert level 3 at 11:59pm on Monday April 27.
"We have done what very few countries have been able to do: we have stopped a wave of devastation," the Prime Minister said on Monday during her post-Cabinet press conference.
But although we avoided the incomprehensible number of deaths seen overseas, every number represents a person, with New Zealand's COVID-19 death toll currently at 12.
"We cannot forget that every number is someone's father, someone's mum, a relative or a friend, and someone that we have all been united in an effort to protect and save," Ardern said.
In an attempt to prevent any further deaths, she said the nation is not being unlocked this week, "We are currently in lockdown and are staying there for the next week."
When we do move to alert level 3, we will stay there two weeks, and then the Government will reassess if we are ready for alert level 2.
"We've sacrificed too much for us to lose those gains now. Let's lock them in. Make sure we do everything we can to not go backwards and keep moving forward successfully," Ardern said.
This Saturday is a long weekend for ANZAC Day. New Zealanders got a bit loose over the Easter weekend during lockdown, with more than 600 lockdown breaches.
The Prime Minister said there is "more trust at alert level 3", and urged Kiwis to stay the course.
Supermarket shopping will remain one of the few things we can do for another week, and one Kiwi woman Newshub spoke to says she agrees with the Government's decision to extend the lockdown.
"A, it was expected and B, I think it's the right decision," she said.
But another Kiwi Newshub spoke to was not as optimistic. The man said it "would be fair to say I'm over level 4" and that he doesn't see level 3 as "vastly different from level 4".
There are just nine new cases of COVID-19, and - as was the case in Christchurch, Queenstown and Waikato - the random tests done at supermarkets in Auckland have come back negative.
That's more than 1000 random tests with no positives.
"The effort of our team of 5 million has broken the chain of transmission and taken a quantum leap forward in our goal to eliminate the virus," Ardern said.
Auckland University Professor Shaun Hendy provided modelling to the Government which helped inform its decision on Monday, and he says coming out of lockdown too early would be a mistake.
"I would have been a bit alarmed if we had been coming out this week. People will have noticed that we still haven't had a day without a case."
The National Party is blaming the Government's lockdown extension on a failure to act.
"The Government didn't gear up to do its bit and that means, regrettably, we've got another week in a very extreme position of a lockdown, I think stricter than anywhere else in the world," Opposition leader Simon Bridges said.
Remember alert level 3 is still strict.
- You must still work from home if you can, though more businesses will open
- Some schools will open but only for those who can't learn from home
- Bubbles can be extended to close family and caregivers if needed
- Low-risk solo recreational activity is allowed
- Small funerals under 10 people are permitted
- Weddings are permitted too but no-frills - food and receptions are out
- Bars, restaurants, gyms and other public venues remain closed
But until then, the Prime Minister has a message for Kiwis: "Stay strong, stay home, be kind, and let's finish what we started."