London's ultra-Orthodox Jews have one of 'world's highest' coronavirus infection rates

London's ultra-Orthodox Jews have one of 'world's highest' coronavirus infection rates
2 min read
03 February, 2021
A study has found that London's Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox Jews, have a shocking 64% coronavirus infection rate, nine times higher than the UK population as a whole.
Haredi Jews in the UK have been reluctant to observe lockdown rules [Getty]
Ultra-Orthodox Jews in London have one of the highest rates of coronavirus infection in the world, a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found.

There are approximately 23,000 Haredi Jews, also known as ultra-Orthodox or strictly-Orthodox Jews, living in London.

The study found that approximately 15,000 of them had contracted coronavirus, giving the community a shocking 64% infection rate.

The coronavirus infection rate for the UK population as a whole is approximately 7%. The rate for the capital's ultra-Orthodox community is “among the highest reported anywhere in the world”, according to the study.

The study was carried out in December 2020, before cases in the UK surged.

Researchers believe the Haredi community, which is concentrated in the Stamford Hill area of London, is now suffering an even higher infection rate, BBC News reported.

The study sets the reason for the high rate of infection as “unclear”, but Haredi Jews live in more overcrowded conditions and have a higher poverty rate than the general UK population.

Haredi families and households are on average larger than those across the country, with more than five people per household on average, compared to a UK rate of 2.3.

According to statistics, religious and ethnic minorities in the UK have suffered higher rates of coronavirus infection than the population as a whole. Jewish men are twice as likely to die from coronavirus as men from a Christian background, BBC News reported.

In the UK, some members of the Haredi Jewish community have flouted national lockdown rules that were imposed in January, many of which held large weddings and were fined by police as a result.

Because the community is relatively insular and rarely engages with media and the internet, it is less likely to receive public health messaging.

It does not recognise the authority of the UK chief rabbi, or the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who condemned the hosting of weddings amid a global health crisis.

Read also: The Covid-19 vaccine must not be used to cover-up the UK's mishandling of the pandemic

In Israel, Haredi Jews also suffer a high coronavirus infection rate and have held violent protests against nationwide lockdown restrictions there.

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