A CONGREGATION of Orthodox Jews were seen breaking social distancing laws to attend the funeral of a rabbi on a New York street.
The city has been declared a disaster zone amid the coronavirus outbreak, with hospitals and morgues saying they are unable to cope with the growing number of victims.
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Video circulating online shows a crowd carrying a coffin through the Borough Park section of Brooklyn on Wednesday morning.
The funeral was for Yosef Leifer, the 96-year-old rabbi of the Congregation Karnei Reim, the New York Post reported.
Leifer was a survivor of the holocaust and part of the Nadvorna Hassidic dynasty, which originates in Ukraine.
Some but not all of them men in the clip can be seen wearing masks.
New York has been the US state worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with 92,000 cases confirmed and strict lockdown measures in place.
All but employees in essential jobs are being mandated to work from home, and residents are allowed out of their home only to exercise or to buy food or medical supplies.
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More than 1,500 people have so far been killed by the virus in New York City alone.
Such large gatherings are typical in Orthodox culture, but are not exempt from the lockdown rules.
The NYPD told the Post it had received "no notifications" about the event, and that it had handed by the time they learned of it.
No arrests have been made or summonses issued.
Speaking to the Post, political consultant Menashe Shapiro, who has links with the Orthodox Jewish community said "people have to be buried" but that there was "no excuse for violating social distancing".
"What took place yesterday in that video is utterly despicable under current circumstances since it’s self-defeating and risks many more funerals,” he said.
A man who picked up the phone at Leifer's synagogue told the Post people had "forgotten about" the epidemic.
"People were in such a panic that the [rabbi] had died," he said.
The coronavirus has now infected more than one million people globally and killed at least 54,000 since first breaking out in December.
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