Two Gulf Arab men greet each other in the traditional tribal fashion by touching each other's nose. (File photo: Reuters)
Joanne Serrieh, Al Arabiya EnglishMonday, 3 February 2020
UAE residents should not greet each other physically, including the traditional nose-to-nose greeting or eskimo kiss, to avoid the risk from viruses amid the spread of the deadly coronavirus, according to the UAE Health and Prevention Ministry on Instagram.
The UAE ministry’s recommendation comes as countries scramble to protect their citizens from the deadly coronavirus, which has killed 362 people and infected 17,300 so far. Coronavirus can spread in the same way as a regular flu, but symptoms might not show until two to 14 days after catching the virus.
As well as avoiding the traditional nose-to-nose greeting, when Emirati men rub their noses together upon meeting or leaving each other’s company, the ministry also suggested people wave instead of shaking hands, cover their nose and mouth when sneezing, and avoid hugging or kissing others.
The ministry’s advice is in line with other previous health advice, including for children, issued by the World Health Organization and other groups.
The UAE has reported five cases of coronavirus in the country. All five were Chinese tourists who had visited the country from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus.