5 Dec 2019

Samoa's measles state of emergency: Police out in force

1:49 pm on 5 December 2019

Unprecedented state-of-emergency orders come into force in Samoa today in a major push to get everyone immunised against measles.

Earlier updates from Samoa here:

Since the outbreak began in October, 62 people have died and there are more than 4000 confirmed cases of the disease.

The country is shutting down for two days so mobile medical teams can visit people at home who haven't been vaccinated and give them the jab.

The lockdown applies to almost everyone except essential services. Private vehicles are also banned on the roads from 7am until 5pm today.

More than half the country has now been vaccinated, but in the next 48 hours, the government aims to boost that to at least 90 percent.

Checkpoint reporter Alex Perrottet, who is in Apia, said the orders were very strict and mobile vaccination teams would stop at every home with a red cloth or flag shown outside, indicating unvaccinated people inside.

Meanwhile, there are now 16 confirmed cases of measles in Fiji with the latest being another from Suva, the third in the capital.

Authorities say all non-essential travel should be avoided to the Serua/Namosi Subdivision where there are 11 confirmed cases.

Further, all large public gatherings are to be avoided and international travellers are being asked to ensure they are vaccinated at least two weeks before arriving in Fiji.

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