The Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogue has suspended activity at all its synagogues following the coronavirus outbreak.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has ruled that no more religious services should take place after taking the latest advice from Public Health England.

United Synagogue, which is a a union of British Orthodox Jewish synagogues, has buildings in Radlett, Borehamwood, St Albans, Watford, and Bushey.

Borehamwood, Bushey, Barnet and Radlett are home to some of the largest Jewish communities in the UK.

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A statement on the United Synagouge website said: "Today, because of Coronavirus, our focus will sadly shift – temporarily – away from our synagogues and back solely to our homes. But although shul is central to our existence as Jews, so are our homes where we can also pray.

"Please cancel all activities in the synagogue including all services - weekday and Shabbat. Whilst the synagogue office can be opened from time to time for administrative purposes, the site should be understood to be closed.

"The community should not facilitate, support or publicise any minyanim or services in members’ homes. Sifrei Torah should not be loaned for these purposes. We understand the implication of this on individuals who wish to say kaddish. It also means, sadly, that we will not be able to hold Barmitzvahs, Batmitzvahs or other smachot."

However, the statement said than an exception has been made for weddings, although "restrictive regulations" will be in place.

It added: "We will find new ways to create community. Whether through online shiurim, acts of kindness, a virtual Kabbalat Shabbat (before candle lighting) or livstreamed weekday Ma’ariv service, together we will keep our communities going through these difficult times.

"Thank you for everything you do for your community and the United Synagogue."

To read the full statement click here