Auckland will move to level 3 covid-19 restrictions from midday Wednesday after four positive cases of the virus outside of managed isolation, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The rest of the country would also move to level 2 restrictions with Ardern saying a precautionary approach was necessary following the four cases within one Auckland family.
The restrictions would initially be in place for three days -midnight Friday -.
The Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were four confirmed cases within one family in South Auckland. The index case is a man with symptoms in his 50s. Six other family members in the same household have been tested. Three returned positive results, three negative. Close contacts were now in isolation.
Bloomfield said there would be testing of people working at the borders and in facilities to determine the origin of this case.
Under level 3, people should work from home unless they are essential workers, and stay in their bubbles. Bars and restaurants will close, and gatherings of more than 10 people are restricted.
Schools and childcare facilities in Auckland will close from Wednesday, except for the children of essential service workers.
Travelling into Auckland is prohibited unless people reside there and are returning home.
Under level 2 restrictions for the rest of the country:
Work and school can be attended with physical distancing.
No more than 100 people at gatherings.
Businesses can open to the public if they are following public health guidance, which includes physical distancing and record keeping.
People at higher risk of severe illness from covid-19 are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.
The MoH has recommended wearing masks and urged people to follow strong sanitisation protocols.
Ardern said it was necessary to take a precautionary approach as no origin had been found, or link to isolation facilities or people who work at the border.
"These three days will give us time to assess the situation, gather information, make sure we have wide-spread contact tracing," Ardern said.