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Officials: Scientology Ship Quarantined Over Measles

Nearly 300 people are stuck on the Freewinds docked in St. Lucia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2019 6:27 AM CDT
Updated May 2, 2019 6:52 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/StudioBarcelona)

(Newser) – On the Freewinds cruise ship, there's one person currently being kept in isolation with the measles—while nearly 300 others are being kept on board at a port in St. Lucia. The 440-foot-long ship has been quarantined since Monday due to a female crew member's measles diagnosis, meaning no one can disembark onto the island, though the ship can leave port whenever it pleases, NBC News reports. And it appears to be not just any cruise ship, but a literal Cruise ship: Although local health officials are keeping mum on the vessel, Coast Guard officials are reporting the ship has the same name and appears to be the same Freewinds owned by the Church of Scientology; the ship is used for "spiritual counseling" and hosted Tom Cruise's 42nd birthday in 2004, per the Hollywood Reporter.

Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, St. Lucia's head medical officer, tells NBC it's "likely that other persons on the boat may have been exposed," due to the contagiousness of the disease. The affected patient is said to be in stable condition. Right now, the Freewinds is scheduled to set sail and head to its next port at 11:59pm on Thursday. "We have no jurisdiction over their next destination," Fredericks-James says. Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reports that Avengers fans in Fullerton, Calif., may want to recall when they saw the latest Endgame flick: Health officials say a 20-something woman who caught the midnight showing on April 26 recently tested positive for measles, meaning anyone in the AMC Movie Theater between 11pm and 4am would be vulnerable and should get tested. (Read more measles stories.)

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