As Moldovan authorities struggle to contain an ongoing outbreak of measles, the head of the country's Orthodox Church has told clergy to offer special prayers for an end to the epidemic.
The head of Moldova's Orthodox Church, Vladimir, which is subordinated canonically to Moscow, has urged his priests in an internal memo to help deal with the current epidemic measles through special prayers.
Clergy should "serve in churches and pray for a stop to the measles epidemic and contagious disease", the Metropolitan of Chisinau and All Moldova wrote in an internal memo.
"This situation without precedent in the last 10 years has had very serious effects, especially among children," the memo adds, urging priests to pray on their "knees and with hot tears for the help and mercy of God and the healing of diseases for those who suffer.”
Europe has confronted a measles epidemic since the beginning of this year, but Moldova has been hard hit by the numder of cases and on August 25 declared an "Orange" alert.
Last week, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection issued a note saying that around 170 cases had been registered in Moldova.
The Ministry of Health says the disease is six times more contagious than flu. Vaccination provides 100 per cent protection. However, two out of ten children in urban areas in Moldova are not immunized.
"The start of the new school year is a risk, and parents are urged to immunize children with the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella," the authorities have said.
They recommend citizens also to protect themselves during their travels, as more than 41,000 cases of measles were recorded in Europe in the first half on this year, compared to around 24,000 recorded during 2017.
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