Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte implored citizens on Tuesday to avoid shaking hands at all costs as the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe. Almost 400 confirmed cases have been reported in the Netherlands, with four reported deaths.
"From now on we are stopping shaking hands," Rutte said at the press conference. "You can shake feet, touch elbows as you wish...so from now on we are stopping shaking hands."
Right after Rutte finished his remarks, he shook the hand of Jaap van Dissel, the head of the Dutch Centre for Infectious Disease Control.
This is awesome. pic.twitter.com/IkIw0OWaJw— Kate Hyde (@KateHydeNY) March 11, 2020
Rutte laughed off his mistake.
"Oh sorry, we can't do that anymore!" he exclaimed, before saying, "No, no, over."
The two men greeted each other once again, this time just bumping elbows.
The World Health Organization officially labeled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, as the number of cases worldwide soars past 100,000. Here in the U.S., over 1,000 cases have been confirmed, with now over 30 deaths. A few mayors and governors have declared states of emergency, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“We’re deeply concerned, both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time.”
The new categorization, however, does not demand new WHO recommendations.