Cruise ship cancels visit to Antigua over measles scare onboard
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – A cruise ship that was scheduled to stop in Antigua and Barbuda has cancelled the planned visit after a case of measles was reported onboard.
Freewinds, a United States based cruise ship, owned and operated by the Church of Scientology, was earlier this week quarantined in St. Lucia when it was discovered that a passenger had contracted measles.
According to Antigua Observer, Freewinds informed its local agent, Bryson’s Shipping, that it decided to cancel its May 7th and 9th visit to the island.
The article added that it is not known if calls scheduled for later in the month would also be cancelled.
On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey Thomas sought to assure the public that the government is committed to doing whatever was possible to ensure that there was no re-introduction of measles in Antigua and Barbuda.
“We are aware of the situation in St Lucia and we have been monitoring it. Rest assured that the Ministry of Health will take any measure to protect the public against the introduction of any threatening disease in Antigua and Barbuda,” she said.
On Thursday, health authorities in St Lucia confirmed that a cruise ship had been quarantined over fears that at least one of the passengers on board had contracted measles.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Merlene Fredericks-James, said that the authorities had received the information from two reputable sources.
The Freewinds, with approximately 300 crew members and passengers, was quarantined in the Port of Castries and on Thursday the ship’s doctor requested 100 doses of the measles vaccine.
According to a statement from the St Lucia Department of Health and Wellness, the medication was provided from the country’s supplies at no cost.
Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus that replicates in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.