Coronavirus: the handshake is canceled

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new guide for businesses and employers that outlines simple ways to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as well as points to consider when communicating on business and on business trips.

The main recommendation of WHO remains regular sanitization of all work surfaces, as well as thorough hand washing. The last point is emphasized: wash as often as possible, with soap and alcohol-containing disinfectants, ideally – after every touch of common objects.

But what about handshakes, which in many countries, including Russia, are an integral part of business communication?

The US Department of Health (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its official leaflet on COVID-19, writes that the virus is transmitted from person to person through the air through close contact – at a distance closer than 2 meters. You can also get infected if you touch the surfaces of the virus on your hands and then touch your nose, mouth or eyes with these unwashed hands.

One of these surfaces may be the hand of another person, for example, an infected person, including one who has not yet manifested symptoms.

Studies have shown that coronaviruses can remain active on metal and plastic surfaces for up to 9 days, and on human skin for up to 12 days. The data provided by the CDC, significantly differ in a smaller direction – a few hours or days.

To date, there are cases when the carriers of the virus were people whose disease was completely asymptomatic. Moreover, according to recent studies , the incubation period of COVID-19 can reach 24 days.

It is not surprising that on the doors of many companies in the USA, Switzerland and other countries there were signs with approximately the following text: “In connection with the coronavirus epidemic, please do not shake hands! Thank you,” and many large companies have forbidden staff to shake hands to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

WHO, in its manual, notes that shaking hands, like any other bodily contact, is not the main way to transmit the virus, so there is no reason to avoid shaking hands. But there should be a reservation – only if both people washed their hands before shaking hands, because only thorough washing of the hands is a reliable protection against viral and bacterial diseases.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, WHO recommends that heads of organizations primarily pay attention to the cleanliness and hygiene of workplaces and public spaces. Tables, chairs, telephones, keyboards, railings and door handles should be regularly cleaned, and disinfectants should be easily accessible.

Ordinary people, in order to minimize the risk of infection, need to wash their hands more often and avoid close contact, including shaking hands, with someone who might be infected. Wearing masks CDC is considered less effective for uninfected people.

First, the impermeability of medical masks for the COVID-19 virus has not been proven. Secondly, the vast majority of people use the mask incorrectly, periodically moving it and touching their faces with their hands. However, wearing a mask is mandatory for those who feel at least some discomfort, medical scientists emphasize.


This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.

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