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Friday 23 August 2019

‘Scientology’ cruise ship quarantined in Caribbean in measles alert

The 440ft Freewinds is heading to Curacao after being placed under quarantine in nearby St Lucia.

(Bradley Lacan/PA)
(Bradley Lacan/PA)

By Dick Drayer, Associated Press

Authorities in Curacao are debating how to respond to a ship with 300 people aboard which is heading to the Dutch Caribbean island after being placed under quarantine in nearby St Lucia because of measles.

The ship left St Lucia late on Thursday after spending two days under quarantine.

Authorities there said the ship’s doctor requested 100 vaccines after a female crew member was diagnosed with measles. It is unclear whether she remained in St Lucia.

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The Freewinds cruise ship in St Lucia (Bradley Lacan/AP)

The 440ft Freewinds ship is reportedly owned by the Church of Scientology. Church officials have not returned messages for comment.

The ship is scheduled to arrive early on Saturday in Curacao, where it is normally docked when not in use.

Curacao epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth said the female crew member arrived on April 17 in Curacao from Europe and visited a doctor on April 22 for cold symptoms.

A blood sample was taken and sent to nearby Aruba, where officials confirmed it was measles on April 29, a day after the ship had departed for St Lucia. Curacao health officials then alerted authorities in St Lucia.

It is unclear what the crew member was doing in Europe.

Officials urged anyone who visited the ship from April 22-28 to get a medical check-up.

PA Media

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