New Zealand looks on track to shift down COVID-19 alert levels - but don't celebrate just yet

New Zealand is on track for a shift down the alert levels at midnight on Wednesday with the Prime Minister confirming we're closing in on the cluster - but Cabinet is taking the weekend before it decides, just to be safe. 

It's quite a different picture from the one being painted by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who has taken another swipe at New Zealand's COVID-19 outbreak. 

"New Zealand! It's over! It's over for New Zealand, everything's gone - they're beautiful. They had a massive break-out yesterday," Trump said during a speech in Pennsylvania. 

It was a source of amusement for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who grinned on Friday as Newshub asked if Trump just needs to zip it when it comes to New Zealand's COVID-19 cases. 

"Look, I think everyone can see that in New Zealand today we're talking 11 cases whereas the United Sates has been dealing with over 40,000 cases," Ardern said. 

But without our current restrictions it could have been far worse. 

"It could have been enormous. So for that, I want to say thank you, Auckland. You have made a huge difference," Ardern said during her 1pm press conference. 

Auckland is on track to be rewarded with more than thanks. 

"There is nothing to suggest we need to change our course, and certainly nothing that suggests we need to escalate our response. But at this stage, we need to stay the course," Ardern said. 

If we do, come midnight on Wednesday, it sounds like Auckland will probably shift to alert level 2 and restrictions eased for the rest of the country.

"There are encouraging signs we have the Auckland cluster circled. There are now 87 cases within that cluster all of whom are isolated," Ardern said. 

National Party deputy leader and border response spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says the source of the outbreak still needs to be found. 

"I think one of the crucial things will be to find out what the source of the outbreak is - just how it got into the community," he told Newshub on Friday.

Ardern reiterated that future outbreaks are inevitable. 

"We can't stop every case but we can stop cases spreading," she said. 

She says we can stop the spread without future level 3 lockdowns. 

So for now, Ardern is urging Aucklanders to "stay the course" with a "short and sharp, hard and early" lockdown. 

"We've done it before and we can do it again," she said. 

All signs are pointing in the right direction but there are a few things that could derail us yet, such as an increase in cases, any new strains of the virus, cases outside of Auckland or any slips in contact tracing.

But as it stands, it's not over for New Zealand - contrary to the wisdom of the President of the United States.