Search

‘Hundreds’ infected with coronavirus and five dead in Stamford Hill

PUBLISHED: 14:43 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 21:36 19 April 2020

The Orthodox Jewish voluntary neighbourhood watch group Shomrim has been working with police to encourage the Stamford Hill community to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Shomrim Stamford Hill

The Orthodox Jewish voluntary neighbourhood watch group Shomrim has been working with police to encourage the Stamford Hill community to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Shomrim Stamford Hill

Shomrim Stamford Hill

Shomrim volunteers have been driving around blasting out loudspeaker messages warning people to stay indoors after “hundreds” of people in Stamford Hill’s Orthodox Charedi Jewish community have been infected with coronavirus and five have died, including a leading rabbi.

The Orthodox Jewish voluntary neighbourhood watch group Shomrim has been working with police to encourage the Stamford Hill community to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Shomrim Stamford Hill The Orthodox Jewish voluntary neighbourhood watch group Shomrim has been working with police to encourage the Stamford Hill community to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Shomrim Stamford Hill

The community’s private ambulance service Hatzola took 33 patients to Homerton Hospital on Saturday alone – but people are apparently still going out shopping for next week’s Passover celebrations, oblivious to the dangers posed.

The Jewish civilian patrol organisation Shomrim has enlisted the help of Dr Horowitz from the Leadale practice in Ravensdale Road to warn people to adhere to the government’s lockdown. If they go out of their homes to socialise they are “putting their own lives at risk and those of everyone else they come across”, he has said.

In an online video, he tells people: “We are living in absolutely extraordinary times. It’s unknown the last time the government closed down places of worship, and all social activities. One should not go out to minyan or have a minyan even in one’s own house.”

According to Jewish law it is necessary to say prayers in a group of at least 10 men, which is called a minyan.

The Orthodox Jewish voluntary neighbourhood watch group Shomrim has been distributing food to people self-isolating because of coronavirus. Picture: Shomrim Stamford HillThe Orthodox Jewish voluntary neighbourhood watch group Shomrim has been distributing food to people self-isolating because of coronavirus. Picture: Shomrim Stamford Hill

“Previously it was Jewish law that prayers should be said this way but now it’s become law that people say prayers alone,” said Chaim Hochhauser from Shomrim, who is leading a battle to get people to comply with social distancing. He estimates at least 200 people in his community are now ill with the virus, and believes five people have died.

One of those is rabbi Ashknizy from the Lordship Road synagogue Stanslowa, whose death has “hit the community hard”.

The 69-year-old is believed to have been previously fit with no prior medical problems and was admitted to Homerton Hospital last week before dying on Sunday.

You may also want to watch:

“It’s shocking,” said Mr Hochhauser. “It has made a lot of people think. It’s a small community and everyone knows each other or are related to each other, and we are trying to get the message out there.

“The community doesn’t watch TV or listen to the radio, so they don’t know much of what is happening. It’s only what we give out. We are trying to do the best we can.”

He is frustrated that some people are still not getting the message.

“It’s coming up to Passover, and people are trying to do their shopping, so a lot of the shops are overcrowded, but we went out with the police today to get the message out there.”

Springfield Police have warned that anyone outside breaching the lockdown will be fined at least £60.

“Police now have greater powers to ensure public health during the Covid1-9 pandemic,” they said. “Do not go outside unless necessary.

“If you fail to comply with this direction you may be fined up to £60, which will double with each fine. If you still do not comply you will be arrested.”

Click here to join the discussion in our coronavirus Facebook group.

Click here for a directory of agencies that are helping people during the pandemic.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Hackney Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Hackney Gazette