French people have been told to stop kissing each other on the cheek to stop coronavirus spreading
France has told its citizens to stop kissing each other on the cheek in a bid to halt the rapid spread of the coronavirus across the country.
The country’s health minister Olivier Veran warned French people over the weekend to stop participating in the traditional “bise,” greeting of kissing someone on both cheeks.
“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 it spread,” Veran said at a media briefing in Paris.
Emmanuel Macron’s government has also introduced a ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people, as the deadly virus continues to spread across Europe and the rest of the world.
“These measures are temporary and we will likely have to revise them. They are restrictive and paradoxically we hope they don’t last long because that means we will have contained the virus’ spread,” Veran said.
The ban on large public gatherings resulted in the Paris half-marathon scheduled for Sunday being cancelled.
Paris’ Louvre — one of the world’s most famous museums — was also shut on Sunday.
The number of contained cases of coronavirus in France was 73 as of the weekend. Two of those have died.
Nearly 90,000 people worldwide have been infected by the virus, with over 3,000 dying as a result.
On Monday, Iceland and Andorra confirmed their first cases of the virus.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Monday chair an emergency meeting of senior ministers and officials as his government draws up preparations for an outbreak of coronavirus across the country.
The UK government is set to reveal an action plan for dealing with the spread of the virus, which could include shutting down major cities and cancelling major sporting events.
A school in Wimbledon, west London has shut for a week after one of its members of staff tested positive for the illness after recently traveling to Italy, where they were 1,694 confirmed case as of Sunday.