Pat on back for keep­ing novel virus at dis­tance

Pretoria News - - METRO -

IF YOU don’t have to travel, don’t. This is just one of the bits of ad­vice on how to deal with the coro­n­avirus, even for those liv­ing far from the out­breaks.

But there are many other tips on sim­ple things the pub­lic can do to avoid catch­ing or spread­ing the virus, Covid-19.

France’s di­rec­tor-gen­eral of health, Jérôme Salomon, ad­vised peo­ple to greet each other at a dis­tance rather than by shak­ing hands or kiss­ing as is the cus­tom in the coun­try.

Its Health Min­is­ter Olivier Véran stressed the need for peo­ple to wash their hands reg­u­larly with soap or spe­cial hand sani­tiser con­tain­ing al­co­hol.

Dis­pos­able tis­sues should be used and then thrown away im­me­di­ately after use.

Salomon re­minded the pub­lic that wear­ing face masks when out was not an an­swer to avoid­ing catch­ing the virus be­cause they can’t be worn per­ma­nently and peo­ple were only likely to catch the virus if they spent pro­longed and close con­tact with an in­fected per­son.

Rather, masks should be worn by peo­ple who have symp­toms of the virus or by health and other pro­fes­sion­als deal­ing di­rectly with the pub­lic.

Health of­fi­cials in many coun­tries are also ad­vis­ing against non-es­sen­tial travel.

“Non-es­sen­tial trips should be de­layed espe­cially those to out­side the EU,” Salomon said.

France has taken the step of ban­ning large-scale in­door events. That meant that “gath­er­ings of more than 5 000 peo­ple” in en­closed ar­eas as well as some ex­ter­nal events would be scrapped un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Among the events can­celled was the Paris half-marathon and the fi­nal day of the Nice car­ni­val.

Italy and Switzer­land were among the coun­tries to urge cit­i­zens to re­frain from kiss­ing on the cheek and hug­ging ac­quain­tances in greet­ing.

The Ital­ian gov­ern­ment is­sued new guide­lines to stop the virus from spread­ing, which in­cluded urg­ing peo­ple aged over 75 to stay at home.

The of­fi­cial ad­vice states that peo­ple should avoid crowded places and keep “at least a me­tre” away from any­one else at all times.

Foot­ball matches and other sport­ing events in Italy this month will be held be­hind closed doors.

In other coun­tries too so­cial in­ter­ac­tion was chang­ing as a re­sult of the novel virus.

Aus­tralians have been urged by their health min­is­ter to give a pat on the back, rather than a hand­shake.

Also, the out­break of the virus could hit one of Spain’s most cher­ished tra­di­tions, the kiss­ing of sculptures of the Vir­gin Mary in the week lead­ing up to Easter.

In Poland, the faith­ful were al­lowed to take “spir­i­tual com­mu­nion” in­stead of con­sum­ing the com­mu­nal bread – or it can be taken in the hands rather than the mouth.

The faith­ful have also been asked not to dip their hands in holy wa­ter when go­ing in and out of the church, and in­stead make the sign of the cross.

And, in Iran, a video has gone vi­ral show­ing three friends meet­ing, hands in their pock­ets, with two of them wear­ing masks, tap­ping their feet against each other as a greet­ing.


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