Handshake? No thanks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 04, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:33 AM, March 04, 2020

Handshake? No thanks

Global greeting habits change due to coronavirus

Say no to a handshake, refuse every peck on the cheek and definitely avoid hugging. Instead, try a direct gaze, or maybe a hand gesture.

Around the world people are changing their habits at work, home and in worship to reduce the risk of contracting the new coronavirus and prevent it from spreading any further.

AFP looks at changes in behaviour due to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 3,000 worldwide.

CHINA

In Beijing, the capital of the country where the outbreak began, red hoardings tell people not to shake hands but to join their own hands together in a sign of greeting. Loudspeakers tell people to make the traditional gong shou gesture -- a fist in the opposite palm -- to say hello.

FRANCE

Newspapers have been filled with advice on how to replace kissing on the cheek -- an everyday greeting in France, even between people who have only just met -- and handshaking, a common formality at work. Etiquette expert Philippe Lichtfus, who has been widely cited in the media, says handshakes are a relatively recent development that began in the Middle Ages.

BRAZIL

Brazil's health ministry has recommended that citizens not share metal straws used to consume the caffeine-rich South American drink mate, also known as chimarrao.

GERMANY

In a sign of the times, Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer rebuffed Chancellor Angela Merkel's attempt to shake hands with him on Monday, smiling and keeping both his hands to himself. They both laughed and Merkel threw her hand up in the air before taking a seat.

SPAIN

The outbreak could hit one of Spain's most cherished traditions -- the kissing of sculptures of the Virgin Mary in the week leading up to Easter. With just a month to go before the week starts, the ritual could be banned.

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