MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The government of Samoa will close on Thursday and Friday as civil servants join the fight against a measles outbreak in the South Pacific Island nation that has killed 53 people, the country’s prime minister said Monday.

Of those 53, 48 were children younger than 4, according to a government news release, which said there had been 3,728 cases recorded as of Monday. None of the victims had been vaccinated, according to Prime Minster Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, CNN reported.

A state of emergency was declared by the government on Nov. 15, UNICEF said, and a mass vaccination campaign began five days later. So far, 58,000 people — more than a quarter of Samoa’s population — have been vaccinated, Tuilaepa said.

Schools nationwide have been closed indefinitely since Nov. 17 and children have been banned from all public gatherings and places where “large numbers of people congregate,” the prime minister said, CNN reported.

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