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Hackney Council issues mask-wearing reminder as Stamford Hill coronavirus cases rise

Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations backs call from local leaders

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Hackney Council has reminded people in Stamford Hill to wear masks in synagogues, shops and at community events to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

The borough’s Mayor, Phil Glanville, and director of public health Sandra Husbands, wrote to residents following a warning from the council that it could be forced to impose new restrictions over the Jewish festival season if a local spike in Covid-19 cases is not reversed. 

The council previously asked residents in three wards - Cazenove, Springfield and Stamford Hill West - with a significant Jewish presence to take extra precautions and avoid meeting people they do not live with inside a home or grarden except where they have formed a support bubble.

People in those wards were also advised not to visit someone else's home or grasden and not to socialiste with people they do not live with in other public venues including places of worship.

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has urged members to follow social distancing guidelines and said its rabbis and lay leaders were “working closely” with the council to achieve this. 

With the approach of the High Holy-Days, the union said: “We are raising awareness so that the community knows how to best apply and adapt to the social distancing rules in a range of public and private settings.” 

Locals were asked to “think very carefully if and how many guests come into your homes over Yomtov” and reminded that relatives visiting from countries not on the government’s safe list should quarantine for 14 days “or consider rescheduling their visit to when the situation has improved”. 

Joel Friedman, director of public affairs at the Interlink Foundation, which advises strictly Orthodox charities, said it had been providing risk assessments to shuls and public premises as part of “mammoth efforts” to curb the spread of the virus. 

“Yet, the task is not complete and we must all do what we can and play our part to stall the virus so that the community and country at large can return to normal life as swiftly as possible.” 

Dr Husbands has said she was “extremely concerned” at the local rise in cases. Over the most recently measured seven-day period, positive coronavirus tests in Hackney and the City of London were around 21 per 100,000 people – but significantly higher in several of the wards with a large Jewish population. 

But the council noted that a mobile testing unit outside one Jewish school on Sundays had been successful with a good attendance from the local Jewish community. 

 

 

 

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