Samoa’s capital deserted as teams battle measles epidemic

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) — Samoa’s main streets were eerily quiet yesterday as the government stepped up efforts to curb a measles epidemic that has killed 62 people.

The government told most public and private workers to stay home yesterday and today and shut down roads to non-essential vehicles as teams began going door-to-door to administer vaccines.

Families in the Pacific island nation were asked to hang red flags from their houses if they needed to be vaccinated.

Most of those who have died from the virus are young, with 54 deaths among children aged four or younger.

The Samoa Observer paper said the normally bustling capital Apia was a ghost town yesterday, with only birds nesting in the rooftops and stray dogs roaming the streets.