Bye-bye handshakes: How coronavirus is changing global habits

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Say no to a handshake, refuse kisses on the cheeks and definitely avoid hugging. Instead, a direct gaze or maybe a gesture with the hands. All around the world people are changing their daily habits at work, at home and in worship to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading any further. AFP takes a look at how habits are changing around the world due to the coronavirus, which has killed 3,060 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 over how to replace handshaking — a daily formality for the French at work and kissing on the cheek, a regular greeting habit in France even between people who have only just met. Lifestyle expert Philippe Lichtfus, who has been widely cited in the media, insists that handshakes are a relatively recent development in human history that began in the Middle Ages. He says simply looking into a person’s eyes can suffice as a greeting.


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