• Children with parents wait in line to get vaccinated outside a health clinic in Apia, Samoa. | TVNZ (TVNZ)Source: TVNZ
Five more deaths from measles have been recorded in Samoa, where the current death toll is 60, and ahead of a nationwide immunisation program.
4 Dec 2019 - 11:23 AM  UPDATED 4 Dec 2019 - 11:23 AM

The Samoan prime minister has ordered unprecedented action to stop the spread of measles currently ravaging the pacific nation.

On Thursday and Friday, all Samoan businesses and government services will close to allow a "door to door mass vaccination campaign" in a last-gasp effort to improve immunity to the disease.

Having already declared a state of emergency, PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has asked government workers to join with local and foreign health workers with the vaccination.

Residents must stay home, and hang a red cloth or flag outside their homes if they have family members who require vaccination.

On Wednesday, health officials issued another grim update, advising that five more Samoans have died from the disease.

That current death toll, certain to rise further, is 60.

The number of Samoans to have caught the disease has ticked over 4000, meaning more than one in every 50 locals have contracted measles in the outbreak.

Reports from Samoa suggest that many people have stopped turning up for work, while schools have closed and church services have been cancelled.

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