Member of synagogue 'seriously ill' with coronavirus

Shul-goers were told there is no need to self-isolate and activities at the synagogue can continue as normal


A member of St John’s Wood Synagogue (SJW) has been taken “seriously ill” with coronavirus, an email sent to members announced on Thursday morning.

St John's Wood Synagogue have circulated the statement, which they encouraged recipients to share, announcing “the sad news that one of our members is seriously ill in hospital having contracted coronavirus”.

The member, who was not named, last attended services at the synagogue for Shabbat morning on 29 February and “they have not been on the premises since”.

SJW is a member of the United Synagogue, an umbrella body that represents Orthodox congregations in Britain. The statement said that the US was managing communications with Public Health England on behalf of SJW.

According to the statement, Public Health England have said that while there is no need for other congregants to self-isolate and have “confirmed that it is safe for activities to continue at St John’s Wood”.

The synagogue said that "should members develop symptoms," such as a cough, shortness of breath or fever, that they should self isolate and call the NHS' 111 helpline.  

The statement also recommended that those with questions or concerns should contact NHS 111 “or go online in the first instance as shul ministers and staff are not in a position to offer medical advice”.

SJW said that they “will continue to follow United Synagogue guidance”, and that the United Synagogue was planning to issue guidelines “before Shabbat for all its communities”.

A United Synagogue spokesperson said: “St John’s Wood Synagogue has followed the correct protocol as advised by Public Health England in terms of establishing when their member fell ill, if there might be any risk to other members and ensuring members were informed in a timely manner. 

“Public Health England have advised us that it is safe for St John’s Wood Synagogue to remain open and services and activities will continue as normal for now”, he continued, “clearly the situation  is changing daily and we await updated government advice today after which we will share further guidance with our members.”

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