Coronavirus: Experts say Auckland and Coromandel should prepare to hunker down for longer lockdown

Batten down the hatches because experts and scientists are warning Kiwis to prepare for a lengthier lockdown.

Aucklanders Newshub spoke to are resigned to the likelihood of an extension, but for those in the south where there's still no sign of COVID-19, it's a much harder sell.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern isn't giving anything away until Friday. 

Lockdown life some some benefits. Aucklanders Newshub spoke to talked about how they get more time to keep fit and spend time with family. 

But boy it can be tough. Aucklanders described feeling lonely and missing their freedoms. They're also bracing for a longer lockdown. 

"It will be extended, there's no doubt about it," one person at Auckland's Mission Bay said. 

Experts are lining up in agreement. Those who provide COVID-19 modelling to the Government say Auckland and Coromandel should prepare to hunker down.

"We could be looking at three to four weeks just because of the size of the outbreak," said Wigram Capital Advisors economist Rodney Jones. "It's in younger people who moved around."

Our scientists say it's worth it.

"It's a reasonable expectation that the lockdown may need to last longer and that's to give all of us the certainty that when we come out of it, we're going to merge into a virus-free country," said Professor Michael Baker, an epidemiologist with the University of Otago.

The stunning South Island is already feeling a bit like that - a virus-free island.

"We're hoping it won't last too long," one South Islander told Newshub. 

Another said: "We don't want to go back in for six weeks like we did last time." 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern understands the frustration. 

"For the South Island, I know it's really frustrating when you're in the situation you're in and the outbreak can feel so far away," she told reporters. 

It's not just frustrating. For some South Island businesses, it's murder.

"It's just killing the south," said Tracey Morrow, who has a boutique wedding florist business in Luggate near Wanaka.

She's had five cancellations this week with postponements knocking on throughout the year. The $800 worth of flowers delivered the morning after lockdown are pretty but useless.

"This time really rocked me," she says. "Is it really worth it anymore? I just don't think it is." 

The testing queues in Christchurch belie the need for far more community testing in all southern communities. The Government says that's the fastest route out of lockdown.

"Putting that ring around the outbreak," Ardern said. "The sooner we're able to do that, the higher the confidence we can have. But I'll really look to give people a steer tomorrow once we've had a bit more advice."

Longer lockdown would mean more time to relearn the lockdown rules - like time to read signs. Some people Newshub caught up with didn't realise playground bars are off-limits. 

For the most part police are letting people off too, barring a very small handful of anti-lockdown protesters who are feeling the full force of the law.

Kiwis are predominantly behaving well, according to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

"Police are finding people being very compliant so far."

And the second time around there are even fewer excuses. That most infamous of lockdown breach spots - the Big Easy mountain bike trail - is making it clear that no Health Ministers, or anyone else, can go for a blat.