Jacinda Ardern pleaded with to 'let us go back to work' as NZ gets first day with no new COVID-19 cases

The Prime Minister is being pleaded with to let business resume, as New Zealand got its first day with no new COVID-19 cases - but some Kiwis aren't so confident about shifting out of alert level 3.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced on Monday that New Zealand has "no new cases of COVID-19 to report", and even better, "there are no additional deaths".

He said it's "cause for celebration", which was echoed by Jacinda Ardern who told Kiwis: "Your efforts, New Zealand, have put us at the front of the pack and everyone should feel very proud of that."

It's music to the collective ears of the country, especially Kiwi business owners like Matt Forsman, whose usually bustling hair salon is deserted.

"Until we know when we can return to work everything's in limbo," he told Newshub.

He issued a plea to the Prime Minister to think of businesses like his when we move to alert level 2.

"Please let us go back to work."

But there is a chance the actions of a minority have blown our chances.

Under alert level 3, police have busted hundreds of parties, letting down the team of 5 million - your family, your mates and the rest of New Zealand.

Kiwis Newshub spoke to were not happy about it.

"Just stick to it and [don't] be idiots," a Wellington man said, echoed by a woman who described the partygoers as "halfwits".

"I just don't think we're ready," Newshub was told by another. "I think we should be cautious as well, you know - it could just spread like wildfire."

New Zealand has not even been under alert level 3 for a week but already there have been 593 breaches, 79 in the 24 hours covering Saturday night, and 154 level 3 prosecutions.

People were jeopardising our move to level 2 through their behaviour at the weekend, Ardern said, reflecting Dr Bloomfield who said we're "nearly there but let's not slacken off now."

The gains we're seeing now are a result of how well we did in alert level 4 lockdown and the Prime Minister first wants to see how effective the country has been under alert level 3.

"I'm a perfectionist. I want to see those numbers after we've been in alert level 3 for long enough for it to be a reflection of alert level 3."

Any level 3 COVID-19 spread won't be obvious until at least the end of this week.

"We cannot afford to squander all the hard work and effort of the past weeks," Dr Bloomfield said.

The Prime Minister agreed, urging Kiwis to "stay the course".

"We cannot afford to squander the good work to date."

Cabinet considered advice on Monday with all departments chipping in with what they think alert level 2 should look like.

The Prime Minister won't lay out those finer details until Thursday. That will be tweaked and refined before her big announcement next Monday about whether or not we actually make the move down a gear to level 2.

Part of that is because they are still working it out, and part of it is the Government not wanting people to get ahead of themselves and relax their compliance.

But mostly it's because the Government really isn't making a call on level 2 until it sees what happens later this week because the virus takes a while to show itself.

So, although zero is the best result - and as you heard there cause for responsible celebration in your 'bubble' - we are simply not there yet.