Synagogue member ‘seriously ill’ with coronavirus
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Synagogue member ‘seriously ill’ with coronavirus

St John's Wood shul says there is 'no need for members to self-isolate' after congregant was last on the premises on 29 February

Google maps screenshot of the St John's Wood synagogue
Google maps screenshot of the St John's Wood synagogue

A London synagogue has announced that one of its members is “seriously ill” with coronavirus.

St John’s Wood United Synagogue emailed members with the development today, outlining the individual was last on the premises on February 29, stressing there is “no need for members to self-isolate”.

This comes after communal organisations have been cancelling major events as a precaution, in a bid to prevent the spread of the infection.

SJW shul said it had been following guidance issued by the United Synagogue (US), which includes its members not kissing mezuzahs, prayer books and the Torah scrolls, in addition to staying away from shul if showing any flu-like symptoms.

It told members: “We write with the sad news that one of our members is seriously ill in hospital having contracted Coronavirus. They were last in our synagogue on Shabbat morning February 29 and have not been on the premises since.”

After the US contacted Public Health England on its behalf to ask for guidance, SJW said: “Based on the timings of when the individual was in our synagogue and when he became ill, they were not concerned. They have confirmed that there is no need for members to self-isolate. They have also confirmed that it is safe for activities to continue at St John’s Wood Synagogue.

“However, should members develop symptoms, meaning that they have shortness of breath, an aggressive cough (worse than a regular cough) or fever with a temperature above 38 degrees, they should self-isolate and call the NHS for advice by dialling 111 or going online.”

Ahead of an expected government update on the spread on Thursday, SJW shul added: “Without wishing to cause alarm, please do share this communication with friends who were with you in shul on February 29 and might not read this email, particularly non-members. Finally, we wish a refuah sheleimah (full recovery) to our member and ask that you respect their privacy.”

Richard Verber, Communications Director, United Synagogue, said: “We were very sorry to hear that one of our members at St John’s Wood Synagogue is seriously unwell. We pray for a refuah sheleimah, a full and speedy recovery.

“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. 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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