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Friendly manners foster virus

2020.03.12
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FRIENDLY kissing amid the coronavirus has become a fresh dilemma, especially in effusive southern Europe (歐洲), with potential to reshape customs. But even more-reserved northerners are grappling with whether to forgo the hallowed handshake.

Italy’s (意大利) special commissioner for the coronavirus, Angelo Borrelli, has suggested that the Italians’ demonstrative nature could be contributing to the virus’ spread in the country.

But there have been no official edicts on the social custom of kissing, which sociologists say is rooted in Italy’s Mediterranean culture as well as its strong family and social structure.

Borelli told reporters, “We have a collective social life that is very florid, very expansive. We have lots of contact, we shake hands, we kiss each other, we hug each other.”

In neighbouring France (法國), Health Minister Olivier Veran advised people to cut back on la bise, the custom in France and elsewhere in Europe of giving greetings with kisses, or air kisses, on the cheeks, along with shaking hands.

In Germany (德國), where children are taught to shake hands firmly with adults, doctors are trying to persuade people to quit traditional etiquette.

However, Spain (西班牙), a country rooted with a strong tradition of cheek-kissing in social as well as many professional exchanges, is so far continuing the practice unabated.

Health experts have been warning that shaking hands is a prime way to spread the disease.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 12 March 2020)

 

WHO: basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

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