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Concern as Covid-19 infections surge in Joburg's Jewish community

16 October 2020 - 17:00 By paul ash
A surge in Covid-19 cases has been seen in Johannesburg's Jewish community in recent days.
A surge in Covid-19 cases has been seen in Johannesburg's Jewish community in recent days.
Image: 123rf.com/betonstudio

Johannesburg's Jewish community has seen a surge in Covid-19 infections in the past few days, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies reported.

“We have received reports from Hatzolah of 31 new cases of Covid-19 infection from their records alone in the Johannesburg Jewish community,” Prof Barry Schoub, Dr Richard Friedland and Prof Efraim Kramer said in a joint statement.

“This is a significant increase over the previous week.”

Hatzolah is a free and volunteer-staffed medical rescue service set up in 1986 to serve the city's Jewish community.

The Covid-19 cases had resulted in a number hospitalisations, the statement said.

“It seems the majority of these cases may have come from private social gatherings.”

The community leaders commended “the vast majority of our shuls and schools” that were committed to maintaining strict safety protocols.

The board called on members of the community to remain vigilant around safety protocols, and to avoid social gatherings at people’s homes to ensure that the infections did not develop into a full-blown second wave in the Jewish community.

“This is not the time for complacency. This is the time for caution, which can save many people from serious illness and loss of life.”

The board also warned people of the misconception that people who had been previously infected were immune from the coronavirus.

“Second infections may well occur and may also be a source of potentially respreading infection. Full quarantine is still essential.”

TimesLIVE earlier reported that Covid-19 cases linked to the “super-spreader” event at a Cape Town pub are steadily rising, and by Thursday there were almost 90 cases recorded and a trio of hospitalisations.

Western Cape health department spokesperson Mark van der Heever said three people out of the 89 Covid-19 cases in the southern suburbs had been hospitalised, but one had already been discharged on Thursday.

“We are awaiting updates on the other two adults,” he said.

On Tuesday, Western Cape premier Alan Winde launched an investigation into the bar — which is understood to be Claremont nightclub Tin Roof — after preliminary data indicated that of the 63 cases detected among young people in the area, most had emanated from an event at that establishment.

About 37 of those infected were matric pupils who attend schools, most of them private, in the southern suburbs.

Van der Heever said the department was continuing its provincial awareness campaign aimed at educating people about safe behaviour.



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