American Samoa won't host Polynesian Leaders Group

American Samoa was to host the inter-governmental meeting involving eight Polynesian members in April.

Originally the territory was to host the event in July 2019 but Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga asked Tuvalu, which hosted the Pacific Forum meeting, to host the PLG alongside the forum.

Lolo had said the territory would step up and host the meeting in January 2020 instead.

However, because of the Samoan measles epidemic, the governor then postponed the meeting until April.

Males dominate measles cases in Tonga

Out of the 656 confirmed and suspected cases of measles since October of last year, males recorded 452.

The latest report issued by the Ministry of Health, confirms that 78 of the cases have been laboratory confirmed.

The most recent cases were recorded in Tongatapu, where the two suspects were females aged 15 and 24 years.

The ministry further stated that from between October to Christmas of last year, there were 20 measles-related hospitalizations and all cases recovered completely and were discharged.

However, no deaths have been reported till date.

Tonga confirms 647 measles cases

Of these five were males and three females and the cases ranged between the ages of 7 months to 30 years.

As of 22 January 2020, the total number of confirmed or suspected measles cases is 647.

About 88 per cent of the cases were registered in Tongatapu while the rest were in Vava’u.

According to the Ministry, cases have mostly presented with mild symptoms.

There have been 20 hospitalisations (none since 25-December-2019), and all cases have been discharged.

No deaths have been reported till date.

Passenger with measles travelled between Auckland and Tonga

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service is warning passengers should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly-infectious disease.

The passenger departed Auckland for Nuku'alofa at 8.30am on Monday, returning at 12.30pm on Wednesday.

Medical Officer of Health Maria Poynter said passengers who were unsure about their immunity should check with their doctor or call Healthline for advice.

She says passengers not immunised, pregnant, living with a weakened immune system or under 12 months old should see their doctor urgently.

Effective outbreak response reduces the risk of measles spread in the Pacific

For Samoa, the country experienced a widescale measles outbreak which had significant impact upon the country’s population and health system.

The disease has cost lives, with infants and young children being most affected.

In response to the identification of measles in the region, many Pacific countries and areas have made serious efforts to close immunity gaps in their population and strengthen infectious disease prevention, surveillance and response systems.

Another measles case confirmed in American Samoa

The government said the latest case was a 28-year-old man from Fagaitua village, who has not left American Samoa in the past three months.

A woman, 27, is also thought to have measles, with samples sent to Hawaii for testing.

The territory is under an emergency declaration, with travel restrictions imposed on the territory's border, public gatherings restricted, and a mass vaccination campaign underway.

Earlier this week, the US announced it would provide $US490,000 of funding to help support the territory's efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

Fiji lifts measles emergency measure banning mass gatherings

The government said the removal of the ban comes after serious consideration by the National Measles Taskforce.

Since the outbreak, which has seen 28 confirmed measles cases, was declared in November, around 459,000 people have been immunised across the country.

The government said while new cases continue to be reported in the Central Division, the number of new cases per week has decreased.

However it said despite the advisory against gatherings being lifted members of the public are still being urged to take precautions and to make sure they get vaccinated.

2020 Polynesian Leaders meeting postponed

The group, which was established in 2011, consists of independent or self-governing countries or territories within the geographical region of Polynesia.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said because of measles outbreaks in the Pacific, it was prudent to postpone the meeting that was to be held 28-29 January.

In a letter, Lolo said there was "great sensitivity" around the health crisis that might continue into 2020.

The summit is now scheduled for 14-16 April.

18 new measles cases in Tonga

Sixteen of the cases are from Tongatapu and the remaining two are from Vava’u.

The new cases of measles were reported in the age group between 5 months and 21 years.

As of 23 December 2019, there are 596 confirmed or suspected cases of measles.

The cases are reported to be mild with 15 people requiring hospitalization.

There are no deaths.


Baby in Niue hospitalised with suspected case of measles

The baby is one of 15 in the New Zealand territory who has not yet been vaccinated due to being aged under 12 months.

The child was admitted to Niue Fo'ou Hospital on Tuesday.

Parents with babies aged under one year and unimmunised pregnant mothers have been advised to avoid the hospital.

The Niue Health Department said, as of 13 December all children aged one to two years had been vaccinated while two to four year olds were at 96 percent.

Primary school aged children are at 85 percent and high school students are at 92 percent.