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To shake or not to shake? Experts call for ‘good hand hygiene’ to tackle coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 13:34 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:34 04 March 2020

Handshaking. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Farknot_Architect

Handshaking. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Farknot_Architect

Getty Images/iStockphoto/Farknot_Architect

Football teams in Norfolk will be able to continue shaking hands - if they wish - following concerns about contact due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Norfolk FA says current government advice stresses good hand hygiene but does not stop players shaking hands.

A government message continues to urge people to wash their hands for 20 seconds - the length of singing happy birthday twice - or the chorus of popular songs such as Jolene, Africa or Raspberry Beret.

Any team that opts for no handshake or an alternative method, such as fist bumping, should tell the match referee before entering the field.

It is also at the discretion of the league if it chooses to issue a policy to remove pre or post match handshakes.

A Norfolk FA spokesman said: "If teams feel happier not to shake hands, or to try an alternative method like fist bumping, then that is absolutely their choice and Leagues are encouraged to be understanding of teams making this choice."

The FA spokesman added it will continue to monitor and adopt government policy.

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The director of Public Health England said in the case of a widespread infection, people could be asked to limit interactions.

Professor Paul Cosford said: "We may get to a point where if we see more widespread infection we ask people to limit the social contact they have with each other.

"This could include limiting everyday interaction, although we're not there yet. What's most important at the moment is that people practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly.

"Our message is clear, simple handwashing with soap for 20 seconds is key to good hygiene and this will make a real difference in stopping this virus spread."

At a press conference yesterday, prime minister Boris Johnson said he continues to shake hands with the people he meets.

He said: "I am shaking hands, I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were coronavirus patients and I was shaking hands with everybody you will be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.

"People must make up their own minds but I think the scientific evidence is ... our judgment is that washing your hands is the crucial thing."

On Tuesday, the Queen wore gloves at a investiture for what was believed to be the first time, as she greeted more than 50 recipients.

Today, the monarch held one-to-one audiences, during which she never wears gloves and shook guests hands.


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