Samoa Lifts State of Emergency After Deadly Measles Epidemic

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SYDNEY, Australia — Samoa announced on Saturday that it would reopen schools and end restrictions on public gatherings as it lifted a six-week state of emergency in the aftermath of a measles epidemic that left scores of children and babies dead.

Since September, more than 5,600 measles cases have been recorded in the Pacific island nation of about 200,000 people, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. At least 81 people have died, many of them younger than 5.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to humans, and no one in the close-knit country was left untouched.

The disease has resurfaced globally as vaccination rates have fallen, particularly in countries where poverty has left gaps in public health systems, experts said.