The Caribbean nation of St. Lucia has quarantined a cruise ship following a confirmed measles case onboard, The New York Times reported. According to ABC News, St. Lucia Marine Police have indicated that the Church of Scientology owns and operates the cruise ship, whose passengers and crew members have not been permitted to leave after the measles case was confirmed.
Bustle has reached out to the Church of Scientology for comment. St. Lucia authorities did not initially name the ship, ABC News reported, but they confirmed on Tuesday that they had quarantined a ship while the country's Ministry of Health investigated a possible case of measles on board. Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, St. Lucia's chief medical officer, said in a statement on Tuesday that a quarantine had been imposed to minimize the possibility of the illness being transmitted.
“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,” Fredericks-James said, per The New York Times.
CNN reported that the ship is named "Freewinds" — the same name as a Church of Scientology vessel used as a "a religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion," per the church's website.
ABC News reported that the person who was diagnosed with measles is in "stable" condition, as are other passengers and crew members. Fredericks-James told NBC News that the person in question is a female crew member, and that "the ship’s doctor has the confirmed case in isolation on the ship." According to a statement issued Thursday by St. Lucia's health ministry, however, the cruise's ship's passengers will remain under the ship doctor's surveillance.
"Continued surveillance is necessary as the incubation period for measles ranges from 10 to 12 days, before symptoms in exposed persons occur," the health ministry said. "Today, the ship’s doctor requested 100 doses of the measles vaccine and this is currently being provided from our supplies, at no cost."
Sgt. Victor Theodore of the St. Lucia Marine Police told ABC News that the ship is scheduled to leave for its home port of Curaçao on Thursday night. Nearly 300 passengers and crew members have been impacted by the ship's quarantine, per NBC News. St. Lucia authorities have indicated that imposing a quarantine was necessary to comply with the country's health laws — especially because, back in January, St. Lucia reported that there had been no local transmission of measles on the island since 1990.
The cruise ship quarantine isn't the only example of the incredibly infectious nature of measles. Also this week, the Orange County Health Care Agency warned moviegoers in California that they may have been exposed to measles during a screening of Avengers: Endgame last week. According to USA Today, one woman who attended the screening has a confirmed case of measles. As a result, health officials are reportedly contacting people who may have been at the theater to check up on their vaccination history and watch out for any symptoms.