The Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, says that he will propose a law which would penalize parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, amid an ongoing epidemic that has killed 44 people, mostly children under the age of four.
The United Nations blames anti-vaccination messages for the current outbreak of measles in the Pacific island nation, where the death toll has risen to 39 and is expected to rise as 200 are reported hospitalised, according to the World Health Organization. Total cases now soar to near 3,000.
Fijian Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete warns that police will be deployed to areas under quarantine if people continue not to respect the order to stay at home if they have measles, amid an ongoing outbreak of the illness in various Pacific island nations.
Tonga and Fiji declare a state of emergency as part of an ongoing measles outbreak. Conditions worsen in Samoa where the death toll continues to rise and schools remain closed. There are 1,797 confirmed cases as of Saturday, with 153 detected on Friday alone.
The "Freewinds" cruise ship is quarantined in Saint Lucia over concerns of a measles epidemic after it is reported that one of the passengers has the disease. The cruise ship is reportedly owned by the Church of Scientology, a religious organization that opposes vaccinations against diseases such as measles.