'Do the Wuhan shake': Chinese ditch handshakes for foot-taps
As the coronavirus death toll continues to rise and authorities prepare for the global outbreak to be declared a pandemic, people in China have abandoned traditional greetings to help quell the spread.
Footage of residents tapping feet instead of shaking hands has gone viral on Twitter after being posted to Chinese social media platform Weibo.
The move has been dubbed a "foot-touching curtsy" and "the Wuhan shake", named after the city where COVID-19 was first identified.
Another clip, thought to be filmed in Shenzhen, was shared to the short-video site Douyin, capturing a similar scene when a group of five men met up.
While one commenter was concerned coronavirus could be passed through the soles of the men's shoes, others on social media praised them for their creativity and for being able to "adapt and keep a sense of humour about stressful situations".
The "foot-touching curtsy" may be the way everyone - not just those in China - greets each other from now on, with authorities in several countries warning people not to engage in physical contact.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard suggested on Monday that Australians think twice before shaking hands or kissing, following confirmation of the first human-to-human transmission of the virus inside Australia.
"It is a very Australian thing to do to put your hand out and shake hands for example," Mr Hazzard told reporters. "I would be suggesting it is time that Aussies actually gave each other a pat on the back for the time being. No hand shaking, it's not necessary."
Mr Hazzard also said that while he wouldn't tell people to stop kissing, they should "exercise some degree of caution" when doing so.
However in France and Italy, health officials have warned that people should refrain from the customary double-cheek kiss to prevent the virus' spread.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran advised his country to cut back on using the traditional "la bise" as a means of greeting, telling reporters, "The reduction in social contacts of a physical nature is advised. That includes the practice of the bise. The virus is circulating in our territory and we must now slow down its spread."
In Italy, where the number of people infected by coronavirus continues to surge, a similar warning has been issued, with the government's special commissioner for COVID-19, Angelo Borrelli, suggesting that Italians' demonstrative nature could be contributing to the disease's spread.
"We have a collective social life that is very florid, very expansive," Mr Borrelli told reporters. "We have lots of contact, we shake hands, we kiss each other, we hug each other. Maybe it is better in this period not to shake hands, and do not have too much contact, and try to be a bit less expansive."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people to regularly and thoroughly clean their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water; and to maintain at least one metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing as a means of protecting yourself.
- With AP