From handshake to Namaste: A new era of saying hello

Traditional greetings like handshakes are no longer common during the era of COVID-19. Photo illustration by Aleksey Poprugin.

A few months ago, we all used to greet each other with a handshake or a hug. It was a common gesture to address our friends, in offices, or anywhere else. The current situation is a bit different. People are avoiding the usual way of greeting each other. Instead of a handshake, they are waving, bowing, or saying Namaste. The reason for avoiding a hug or shaking their hands with each other is COVID-19. We all are familiar with the new virus and it’s taking the space on top of news headlines, social media feeds, and on the front page of every newspaper. Coronavirus is a hot topic going around and people from all over the world are socially distancing themselves and taking prevention from this infectious disease. It’s a world crisis and everyone should maintain some distance from each other.

The Coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Wuhan was the epicenter of COVID-19 and in a few months, the Coronavirus spread very fast. From one to two to four than 100, 1000, 10,000, the number of Coronavirus cases only multiplied. It was the worst flu infection that we have ever faced. From China, the Coronavirus traveled to America, France, Italy, Japan, India, and other countries. The situation of Italy, France, and Iran is the same as China. All of these countries have exceeded over 80,000 cases. India has the second-highest number of cases in the world with over 4,000,000. The WHO has announced Coronavirus as a world crisis and because of COVID-19, all countries are facing economical and other losses. Schools, offices, factories, everything has been shut down. Two-hundred thirteen countries and territories around the world are suffering from this infection virus. Overall, over 900,000 deaths have been reported worldwide and over 27,000,000 infectious cases have been recorded. China has had nearly 5,000 deaths. Italy has over 35,000 deaths and Iran has over 22,000 deaths. Every day, thousands of people are dying due to COVID-19, with people who have weak immune systems easily more at risk of getting Coronavirus.

The good news is that awareness and precautions are being spread by the government and people. Not to touch your face with your hands, washing your hands regularly, maintaining a distance of one meter from each other, and following the government’s orders can prevent the risks of spreading coronavirus. If you have traveled recently, make sure to self-isolate yourself to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus.

Coronavirus is a flu virus that gets spread quickly without any contact. Its mode of communication is air. Research on finding a vaccine of Coronavirus has been going on. For now, prevention is the only way to stay safe. Many things have been changed due to Coronavirus. Countries have been locked down, and most importantly, the mode of greeting each other has been changed. Now, Namaste has become the global power of greeting. World political leaders and celebrities are going the Indian way to greet each other. In India, Namaste is a normal way to greet each other.

It all started when US President Donald Trump and former Irish Minister for Defence Leo Varadkar greeted each other with a Namaste. In a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Trump greeted Varadkar with a Namaste. Leaders are following the Indian way and they are requesting people to do the same. Social distancing is the only method to fight against Corona. Following their lead, French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron also greeted with a Namaste when they met Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia during a ceremony to honor victims of terror attacks in Europe at the Trocadero in Paris.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands used Namaste when he introduced himself to Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi and Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted his nationalist allies and Likud party members with a Namaste at the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, in Jerusalem.

Prince Charles met British TV personality Floella Benjamin when she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. actress Anna Friel, and actor Pierce Brosnan at different events.  He also met actress Anna Friel and actor Pierce Brosnan at the Prince’s Trust And TK Maxx & Homesense Awards in London. Instead of shaking hands, Prince Charles greeted all three with a Namaste.

There were several other cases where celebrities and global leaders preferred Namaste instead of a handshake. As the saying goes: ‘prevention is better than a cure.’ In this case, when COVID-19 is spreading widely, it is more important to take precautions, as there is no cure other than prevention at the moment. Namaste is not a way to greet each other, it’s a sign to show Coronavirus that in these hard times all the countries will stay strong and take every measure to fight this world epidemic.

Namaste! Stay safe and stay healthy.

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