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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

Cruise ship quarantined off Caribbean island of St Lucia following outbreak of measles on board

The ship is used as a retreat location by the Church of Scientology.

Image: Shutterstock/eldar nurkovic

A CRUISE SHIP used as a retreat location by the Church of Scientology has been quarantined off the Caribbean island of St Lucia following an outbreak of measles on board.

According to The New York Times, the Freewinds was quarantined by St Lucia after a case of measles was identified on board.

The country’s chief medical officer Dr Merlene Fredericks-James told the newspaper that passengers and crew aboard the ship have not been permitted to leave as a result.

“Because of the risk of potential infection, not just from the confirmed measles case but from other persons who may be on the boat at the time, we thought it prudent to make a decision not to allow anyone to disembark,” she said.

Victor Theodore, a sergeant with St Lucia Coast Guard, told NBC News that the she ship was the Freewinds, which is billed as “a religious retreat that marks for Scientologists the pinnacle of their journey to total spiritual freedom”.

The church also says that the 440-foot ship, which is based in Venezuela, is used to carry out humanitarian missions across the world.

Last week, it emerged that cases of measles in the US have risen to their highest level in 25 years, a resurgence that is being blamed on misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines.

More than 1,000 students and staff members at two Los Angeles universities were also quarantined on campus or sent home following a measles scare last week.

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