CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – A cruise ship with nearly 300 passengers and crew that has been quarantined here since Monday, is scheduled to set sail Thursday, NBC News has reported.
Saint Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Merlene Fredericks-James, had disclosed that a case of measles was confirmed on board.
While Fredericks-James did not name the vessel during a televised statement Tuesday, NBC News quoted Coast Guard Sergeant Victor Theodore as saying that that the vessel involved is named “Freewinds,” which is the name of a 440-foot cruise ship owned and operated by the Church of Scientology.
According to the television network, one female crew member has a confirmed case of measles.
Saint Lucia’s Chief Medical Officer was quoted as saying that the patient is in stable condition in isolation aboard the vessel.
Fredericks-James in her statement Tuesday explained that measles is a highly infectious disease.
“One infected person can easily infect others through coughing, sneezing, droplets being on various surfaces etc. So 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 not to allow anyone to disembark,” she stated.
But while no one has been allowed to leave the ship, NBC reported that local authorities said they don’t have the authority to keep the vessel from leaving.
This country’s Chief Medical Officer reminded Saint Lucians in her statement on Tuesday that there is a situation in the region with people travelling to and from the United States, Europe and other places where measles represents an issue.
She urged people to get vaccinated and ensure that their children obtain the necessary vaccines as well.