Healthcare authorities declared a measles epidemic in the capital Skopje after 12 people reportedly contracted the highly contagious disease. Six of the cases are confirmed and six more are strongly suspected.

Most of the new cases are children, but one is an adult. All have not received the vaccination and two are with a more serious clinical outlook.

Healthcare Minister Venko Filipce informed that all children who have not received the MMR vaccine will be banned from attending kindergarten, and that the parents will face fines between 350 and 650 EUR.

– We are declaring an epidemic in Skopje and the first step we are forced to take is to ban unvaccinated children from attending kindergarten, said Filipce, adding that the Ministry is contacting the parents of 15.000 unvaccinated children under the age of 14, but so far only 310 have stepped up to take the shot. “That is an exceptionally small number”.

The Minister warned the public that so far 30 people have died in Serbia and 50 in Romania. A total of 19 cases were reported since December 2018, including the new cases.