WILLEMSTAD – The “Freewinds” ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology has been quarantined on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, after identifying a confirmed case of measles on board, passengers and crew members were not permitted to leave because of the risk of potential infection.
Freewinds which is normally docked in Curacao serves as a religious retreat and it is used to carry out “humanitarian missions” across the world. According to an online tracking website, the ship arrived in St. Lucia on Tuesday and was supposed to be at Dominica on Friday , it was unclear where the ship might go next as a result of the quarantine.
St Lucian authorities cannot keep the ship from leaving, and it is currently due to leave the island at 23:59 (03:59 GMT) on Thursday.
Freewinds was docked in the habor of Curacao in the past weeks, and it is due to make a comeback in May. As an emergency precaution measure, the Curacao ministry of health with collaboration of Pan-American health organization and the Caribbean Public Health agency will be monitoring the situation closely and will make sure all passengers are vaccinated and will assess the spread of the virus.
In the meantime, the Public Health Department (GGD) in Curacao established a hot line (0800-0888) for all visitors of Freewinds between April 22 and 28 to contact their office to monitor their health situation.
Measles is highly contagious, it can live in the air up to two hours after a person sneezes, infecting 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed to it. Families need to check their vaccination cards and make sure all children are immune against this virus. In the case that there is no medical record it is very important to pass by the health department for guidance or call 432-2860 for more info.