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French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince Charles and Netanyahu: Indian ‘Namaste’ becomes the preferred greeting amid coronavirus outbreak

Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, took to Twitter to share that the French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to greet all his counterparts with "Namaste". He termed it as a 'graceful gesture' that the President retained from his trip to India in 2018.

As the deadly COVID-9 pandemic is spreading across the world, global leaders are taking all the necessary precautionary initiatives including advising their citizens to ditch handshakes and instead endorsing Indian way of greeting “Namaste” to limit the spread of the deadly virus.

In one such decision, following various other global leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday used India’s traditional greeting style “Namaste” to welcome the Spanish King Felipe and Queen Letizia. 

Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, took to Twitter to share that the French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to greet all his counterparts with “Namaste”. He termed it as a ‘graceful gesture’ that the President retained from his trip to India in 2018.  

Reportedly, the coronavirus has claimed 30 lives and affected over 1500 people in France. Macron had recently stated the country was taking appropriate measures to deal with the situation. 

French President Macron’s decision to greet people with ‘Namaste’ is on the lines of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had also similarly urged the citizens of his country to adopt ‘Namaste’ amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Netanyahu had said that several precautionary measures will be adopted to mitigate the spread of coronavirus but simple measures such as greeting people the Indian way by using Namaste instead of the usual handshake can be adopted in day to day lives. He also showed how Indians do Namaste at the presser.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also recently urged the citizens of the country to adopt ‘Namaste’ over handshakes amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus, Indian celebrities and other influential stars are calling on their fans and social media followers to do the traditional ‘Namaste’ to greet each other. Namaste is the customary Indian way of greeting people with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest.

Bollywood actor Anupam Kher had shared a video of himself to advise his fans to do Namaste instead of handshakes. Kher tweeted, “Of late I am being told by lots of people to keep washing hands to prevent any kind of infection. I do that in any case. But also want to suggest the age-old Indian way of greeting people called Namaste. It is hygienic, friendly & centres your energies. Try it.”

India’s ace shuttler PV Sindhu also endorsed the idea of greeting people with a Namaste. The 24-year old said on Sunday that she would not be shaking hands during next week’s All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham and use ‘Namaste’ greeting instead.

Bollywood entertainer Salman Khan also took to the social media to urge his fans to avoid handshakes and use ‘Namaste’ and Salaam instead to address people.

Coronavirus is a deadly respiratory disease which has killed more than 4,600 and so far more than 1,26,0000 cases are reported globally, according to the World Health Organisation. The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019.

The World Health Organisation has now declared ‘COVID-19’ outbreak a ‘pandemic’. Following this decision, the Government of India has suspended all tourist visas and e-visas granted on or before March 11. All incoming visitors including Indian nationals are advised against non-essential travel because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In India, meanwhile, 52 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, the latest being two cases, one in Delhi and the other in Rajasthan. The transmission of the virus takes place when someone who is infected comes in contact with another person. According to medical experts, coughing, sneezing or even shaking hands with an infected person can cause exposure.

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