St. Lucia’s health authorities confirmed Thursday that a Scientology Church cruise is quarantined as a precautionary measure after a case of measles was detected on board.

The island’s chief medical officer, Merlene Fredericks-James, told local media that the measure has been taken “for fear of spreading the number of people affected” and said there is a permanent dialogue with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other international health agencies on what will be the best way to act.

According to the doctrine of Scientology, humans are inhabited by an immortal spirit called “thetan” which “animates” the body in which they live temporarily. Scientologists do not explicitly avoid medical treatment or advocate against vaccination, but they consider diseases to be a sign of weakness for which the sick person is responsible. They are therefore skeptical of Western medicine. If a Scientologist catches a cold, he is asked to write an essay on who he thinks is against the church that may have made him sick.

“We think it’s prudent to quarantine the boat. Therefore, no one can get off the boat,” he said. “Because only one person can easily infect another, we consider it prudent not to allow anyone to disembark,” he stressed, recalling that measles is a highly contagious disease and highlighting its high incidence in the United States, which is due, he said, to the fact that many people have not been vaccinated.

He also said that the case of measles detected is “under control and the patient is stable.

According to various sources, there are 300 passengers aboard the ship. The Freewinds, according to the website of the Church of Scientology, which has not been pronounced on the matter, is an 134-meter ship based in the Caribbean, with port in Curaçao.

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