Police investigate Blackburn mosque after 250 people attend funeral

Jamia Ghosia Mosque in Blackburn

Police and health officials are investigating a Blackburn mosque after around 250 people attended a funeral.

The Jamia Ghosia mosque has now been closed after the imam tested positive for coronavirus. All those who attended the funeral have been asked to self-isolate and the mosque will be deep-cleaned.

The mosque held the funeral on July 13 despite official government guidance stating a maximum of 30 people were allowed to attend such events.

The chairman of Jamia Ghosia mosque said they thought there were no restrictions on numbers if hygiene and distancing measures were in place.

A message by the mosque to worshippers read: “Unfortunately our Imam who led the Janazah (funeral) prayer has been tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering from the virus. There is a possibility that other attendees may also have been infected at the Janazah prayers.

“It is our legal obligation to strongly advise you to isolate yourself for seven days, or attend your local COVID-19 testing station for COVID-test.”

The message added: “Any future Janazah prayer will consist of 30 people only and all COVID-19 Janazah will NOT be allowed in the Mosque as we experienced this week, this must take place in the Blackburn Cemetery.”

Blackburn with Darwen, which has one of the highest infection rates in England, brought in extra restrictions on Tuesday.

The Lancashire borough has seen a rise in coronavirus cases, centred on terraced houses with a high number of occupants. Most new cases were among the south Asian community, public health officials said.

For the next month, the area’s 148,000 residents have been told to observe the new rules in a bid to avoid a Leicester-style lockdown.

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