New Zealand, 3,200 miles southwest, has strong ties with the tiny Polynesian country, and since last February has experienced a string of high profile measles outbreaks, leading to alerts throughout the WHO’s Western Pacific region.
“New Zealand warned them in August,” a Samoan community leader, Tupai Molesi Taumaoe, whose 20-month-old nephew, Lotolano, died of measles last month, told The Telegraph. “But they did nothing.”
According to official data, New Zealand has seen 2,140 confirmed measles cases this year, including more than 1,700 around the country’s biggest city, Auckland, where many families of Somoan origins are concentrated.
Air New Zealand and other carriers operate daily services from the city to the Samoan capital, Apia.