Samoa’s capital deserted as teams battle measles epidemic

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Samoa’s main streets are eerily quiet as the government steps up efforts to curb a measles epidemic that has killed 62 people.

The government told most public and private workers to stay home on Thursday and Friday and shut down roads to nonessential vehicles as teams began going door-to-door to administer vaccines.

Families in the Pacific island nation have been asked to hang red flags from their houses if they need to be vaccinated.

Most of those who have died from the virus are young, with 54 deaths among children aged 4 or younger.

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