Three unexplained coronavirus cases have popped up in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland ... forcing a level-three lockdown that closes schools and keeps many workers home until Wednesday.
The rest of the country will move to a lesser level two lockdown restricting large gatherings.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she and other lawmakers decided to take a cautious approach until they find out more about the outbreak, including whether the infections are of the more contagious variants.
"I'm asking New Zealanders to continue to be strong and be kind. I know we all feel the same way when this happens. we all get that sense of 'not again' but remember, we've been here before that means we know how to get out of this again and that is together," Ardern said.
Sunday's lockdown is the first in New Zealand in six months. It represents a significant setback in the nation, which had successfully stamped out community spread and allowed people to go back to work, concerts and sporting events without needing to wear masks.
Additional reporting by Nick Perry of The Associated Press.