Melb Jewish leaders urge COVID compliance

Melbourne’s Jewish leaders have urged community members to follow lockdown rules, amid reports of illegal gatherings.

A mother and son from St Kilda East, the heart of the city’s Jewish community, tested positive to COVID-19 over the weekend despite not having known links to other cases.

The cases have been discovered amid unconfirmed reports on social media of an recent engagement party held by community members with about 100 guests, which one case may have attended.

The newly-elected President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Daniel Aghion, has called for calm and said anyone concerned about exposure should contact authorities.

“We are disappointed to learn that a small group have not been following mandatory lockdown restrictions,” he said in a statement.

“We too feel the immense frustration at the current situation, and are focusing our support on significant efforts being made to contain the virus,” he said.

COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar told reporters on Sunday he believed St Kilda East pair had been infectious in the community for a number of days.

He described the developments as part of a tipping point in the latest outbreak, and said health officers had been meeting with community leaders since Saturday.

“They are working hard, they are very concerned, they are keen to understand what the exposure may have been,” he said.

The council has warned of several exposure sites frequented by Melbourne’s Jewish community, including supermarkets and pharmacies in Balaclava, Haymisha Bakery, Daneli’s Deli and Doms Balaclava Fruit Mart.

The state recorded 25 new local infections on Sunday.

Some 13,000 people in Victoria are in 14-day isolation stints.

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