NHS Covid tracing app cannot be used on Shabbat or festivals, says Chief Rabbi

Rabbi Mirvis also urged ‘all who are able’ to make use of the technology on other days of the week


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said that the new NHS Covid-19 app launched in England and Wales on Thursday cannot be used on Shabbat or festivals. 

The device will alert users if they have been near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. 

The Chief Rabbi said it would be “a valuable tool in helping to control the spread of the coronavirus and I would encourage all who are able, to download and make use of it”.

But he added that “we have received assurances that there is no expectation that the app be switched on and with one all of the time, including over Shabbat and chagim.  

“As such, following a number of questions received from members of the Jewish community, I want to make clear that there are no circumstances in which this app may be used, even passively, on Shabbat or chagim.”  

The app can also help users check the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district or check possible coronavirus symptoms. 

Members of the community who sought a more detailed understanding of the religious issues involved were advised by the Chief Rabbi to consult their local rabbi. 


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