Coronavirus: Auckland to transition out of lockdown rather than immediate shift, Jacinda Ardern hints

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent a clear message that unless a region is 90 percent vaccinated, it will be cordoned off and locked down if it gets an unlinked case in the community.

This is the approach now seen in Waikato, which is entering alert level 3 on Sunday night after two COVID-19 cases were found in the region and aren't yet linked to the Auckland outbreak.

This is a shift in gear for the Government's vaccination approach, and soon lockdowns will be a tool only reserved for the unvaccinated.

So if your community isn't vaccinated, you will bear the burden. If you're not vaccinated, you'll lose freedoms and probably soon, when vaccine passes are developed, you'll also lose access to some places within your community. 

In terms of what Sunday's announcement means for Auckland, the Prime Minister ruled out a shift back up to level 4.

She also said what's happening in the Waikato - the five days at level 3 - doesn't have any bearing on Auckland, so it's not a signal the city will stay in level 3 longer.

But the biggest clue she gave Aucklanders was calling Monday's alert level announcement a "roadmap", so instead of an immediate move down alert levels, it will be a transition.

Auckland should expect a more incremental move out of lockdown over the coming weeks.