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Northern communities warned of ‘pivotal moment’ amid rising Covid cases

Leading Prestwich GP issues warning about spread of Covid-19 over the High Holy Days amid rising cases in Bury, Salford and Manchester

Sanitising in a synagogue
Sanitising in a synagogue

Jewish communities in the north-west were this week warned to take action to protect themselves and their community in the run-up to the High Holy Days.

With cases of Covid-19 rising in Bury, Salford and Manchester and celebrations about to begin, local public health teams said the holidays could help spread the virus unless families took social distancing seriously.

The infection rate in Bury has more than doubled in the past week and the borough, which has a large Jewish community, is now one of seven Greater Manchester districts in the ‘red zone’ where further restrictions may be imposed.

Dr Jeff Schryer, chair of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP at Whittaker Lane Medical Practice in Prestwich, said: “In this part of Greater Manchester we are at a pivotal moment as Covid-19 cases begin to rise.

“This illness passes easily, quickly and from person-to-person and the only way we are going to stop it spreading is to stay apart. Wearing face masks not only protects ourselves but also those we come into contact with. I’d ask that people stick to the rules and keep the numbers affected by this terrible virus as low as possible.”

The High Holy Days typically means packed synagogues, with friends and family get-togethers, but local lockdown restrictions in the north-west prohibit different households meeting, unless they form a support bubble.

Synagogues will be open this year but will be subject to strict Covid-19 secure arrangements, including restrictions on how many people can attend, two-metre distancing, and the wearing of face coverings.

Councillor Jane Black, Bury Council cabinet member and councillor for St Mary’s ward in Prestwich, said: “Pikuach Nefesh, the protection of life, is the highest principle in Judaism, and we as a community must take responsibility and protect ourselves and others from Covid-19.”

 

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