- Health experts have recommended avoiding the exchange of handshakes as this increases the risk of infection spreading.
- The virus has been spread to 10 of the 16 German states.
- Elsewhere, Portugal registered the first two cases of coronavirus on Monday.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer refused to shake hands with Chancellor Angela Merkel today, at a time when the number of cases of coronavirus in the country has risen to at least 150. When Merkel reached out to greet Seehofer at a meeting on migration in Berlin, he smiled disarmingly and held both his hands back. Merkel nonetheless took the snub in good faith, withdrawing her hand as they both burst into hearty laughter.
“That is the right thing to do,” Merkel said as she took her seat while guests at the meeting also burst out laughing. Seehofer had told German media yesterday that he had stopped shaking people’s hands and that he hoped a vaccine would be discovered soon.“I estimate that a vaccine will be available by the end of year,” he told the media.
“Do not Shake Hands”
Health experts have recommended avoiding the exchange of handshakes as this increases the risk of infection spreading. Over the weekend, the French Minister of Health, Olivier Veran, was one of the first to advise against handshakes. “The virus is now circulating on our territory,” Veran told reporters at a daily briefing about the outbreak. “I recommend that, for now, people do not shake hands.”
In Germany, the number of coronary cases rose to 150 on Monday from 129 the previous day. This is according to Lothar Weiler of the Robert Koch Institute’s Disease Control Unit. Alarms have been raised from “low to moderate” to “moderate,” Weiler said.
Ten out of 16 States Have Cases
Authorities say no drastic intervention is needed, such as closing borders. The virus has been spread to 10 of the 16 German states. More than half of the confirmed cases are in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
The growing fear of infection has caused disinfectants and other protective products to be sold out in many German stores. In Lower Saxony, 1,200 face masks were reported stolen from a hospital.
Portugal Confirms First Case of Coronavirus
Elsewhere, Portugal registered the first two cases of coronavirus on Monday. Both were people who recently returned from abroad, Health Minister Marta Temido said at a news conference. One of the cases has already been confirmed by counterproof, while the second is still awaiting the test result.
The men were taken to a hospital in Porto and are stable and in good general health, said Temido. The minister claimed that one of the cases involved a 60-year-old man who was recently in Italy, the European epicenter of the virus. His control test confirmed the infection.
The second is a 33-year-old man who has returned from Valencia, Spain. The first test of the disease was positive for Covid-19 and the government still awaits the counterproof. According to Temido, however, the case is likely to be confirmed. The minister said that Portugal would expand the tracking of passengers and their contacts to include flights arriving from Italy, in addition to those coming from China, which have been monitored for some time.