London rabbi dies of coronavirus and Boris Johnson says he’s infected


(JTA) — A London rabbi has died from the coronavirus and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is infected.

Rabbi Uri Ashkenazi was a leader of the Stanislaver Hasidic community, Hamodia reported. He died Thursday at 76.

Johnson made the announcement Friday, saying he was tested because he displayed symptoms. He also said that he would continue to lead the United Kingdom from isolation at his home.

Of the 578 people who have died from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, at least 26, or 4.4%, are Jewish. The U.K.’s Jewish minority of about 250,000 accounts for about 0.3% of the country’s population of 66 million.

On Monday, the British government amended a bill granting emergency powers relating to the coronavirus crisis to assure that the bodies of those who die may be handled in accordance with their faith. Judaism and Islam generally forbid cremation, whereas Christianity does not.

Johnson delivered his video statement in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.

“Hi folks,” he began. “I want to bring you up to speed with something that’s happening today, which is that I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus.”

Johnson is the first leader of a nuclear power known to have contracted the virus.

Should Johnson become incapacitated, the government said last week, his duties would be taken by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the son of a Jewish father from what is now the Czech Republic.

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