Uman mayor speaks against this year's Hasidic pilgrimage over COVID-19 concerns
The mayor of Uman, a Ukrainian town where Hasidic Jews flock every year to visit the tomb of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, has spoken against this year's pilgrimage set to be held in September amid the uncertainty over the coronavirus spread developments.
"Every year about 30,000 pilgrims come to Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. But this year, the coronavirus pandemic made adjustments to our life... It's a very difficult situation in the world and in Ukraine. In Uman, the situation is under control... But the arrival of a large number of foreigners from different countries could cause a coronavirus outbreak in our town," Mayor Oleksandr Tserbiy said in a video address he uploaded on Facebook.
He went on to express doubt that all pilgrims who would like to visit the town this year would have appropriate medical certificates with negative COVID-19 test results. Neither is the mayor sure visitors would actually undergo the required 14-day observation upon arrival and comply with all requirements of the adaptive quarantine Ukraine has introduced.
"The government foresees the second wave of coronavirus in September. In the current situation, I stand against the arrival of pilgrims this year," the mayor emphasized.
However, he noted, Uman residents' opinion must be heard, so he suggested that people leave comments under his post and have their say on the matter.
Earlier in April, Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine Joël Lion has called on the Hasidim not to go on a pilgrimage to Uman amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of members of Hasidim come to Uman every year to visit the tomb of their spiritual leader, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
Rosh Hashanah in 2020 will begin on September 18 and will end September 20.