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13 Mar, 2020 05:17

Forget handshakes, time to Namaste: Trump & Prince Charles latest to embrace Indian greeting in #Covid era (VIDEOS)

Forget handshakes, time to Namaste: Trump & Prince Charles latest to embrace Indian greeting in #Covid era (VIDEOS)

As the world races to cope with Covid-19, many have ditched the typical germ-ridden handshake for India’s ancient “Namaste” greeting, which may soon catch on after President Trump and the UK’s Prince Charles embraced the gesture.

The US president could be seen taking up the no-contact greeting – which involves a small bow with hands clasped together at the chest – when he met with Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar on Thursday, noting the Indian custom has put the country “ahead of the curve” when it comes to the fast-traveling pandemic.

“Well, we didn’t shake hands today. We looked at each other, we said ‘What are we going to do?’ You know, it’s sort of a weird feeling,” Trump joked to reporters at the White House while seated alongside Varadkar, who happens to be of Indian origin.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi floated the idea last week, urging not only Indians but the world to adopt the traditional salutation. Even before Modi, some 5,000km west, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu took up the idea himself, stating he’d already sworn off handshakes to keep the lethal bug at bay, suggesting all Israelis do the same.

Also on rt.com No need to panic: Modi urges world to embrace 'Namaste' greeting instead of handshakes to fight coronavirus

The fad has even made its way to British royalty, with Prince Charles seen doling out Namastes left and right to guests at the yearly Prince's Trust Awards in London. There were a few close calls, however, with the prince going in for several handshakes before stopping himself.

Indian starlet Priyanka Chopra has also made a point of encouraging the greeting, giving an impromptu ‘health advisory’ to her 50.7 million Instagram followers and dubbing the Namaste an “old but also new way to greet people in a time of change.”

With just over 70 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among India’s 1.3 billion residents, perhaps the customary salute has helped to stem the spread of the illness in one of the world’s most populous nations. India marked its first fatality on Tuesday – a 76-year-old who recently returned from Saudi Arabia – which comes weeks after many countries have counted dozens of deaths.

Covid-19 has spread to some 135,000 people worldwide since the outbreak was first observed in China’s Hubei Province late last year, killing over 4,700. Over half of the patients have since recovered, however, leaving around 62,000 cases unresolved.

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