Coronavirus: Norway hospital advises against handshakes

Coronavirus: Norway hospital advises against handshakes
Bjørn Atle Bjørnbeth, CEO of the Oslo University Hospital, and Hilde Myhren, medical director at the Oslo University Hospital, at a press briefing on the coronavirus on March 3rd. Photo: AFP
Oslo University Hospital has advised against shaking hands as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus infection.

Latest official figures from the Institute for Public Health (FHI) showed 30 new cases of coronavirus over a 24-hour period up to Thursday evening, bringing the country's total confirmed cases to 86.

National media in the country, such as broadcaster NRK, are placing the number of registered infections at around a hundred people at the time of writing.

Oslo University Hospital has urged staff and others at the hospital not to shake hands or hug others as a greeting.

“In these times, this is good advice for everyone,” Hilde Myhren, medical director at Oslo University Hospital, said in comments published on the hospital’s website.

“There are many ways to greet which are both polite and pleasant. A simple hello, a bow or a wave instead of a handshake is an important contribution in the fight against the coronavirus,” Myhren said.

Similar advice was given by Directorate of Health (Helsedirektoratet) professional director Svein Lie, but Lie noted that this is not yet the official advice of Norway’s health authorities.

In neighbouring Denmark, the Danish Health Authority has said its “clear advice” is not to shake hands, hug or kiss.

“Not shaking hands is what Oslo University Hospital is doing, and I think that is pretty good advice. No official advice has been issued, but I think it's good advice. That's as clearly as I can say it,” Lie said at a Friday press briefing reported by NRK.

According to the broadcaster’s reports on Friday, pupils at at least nine Norwegian schools, in addition to one kindergarten, have tested positive for coronavirus.

FHI has previously warned that there may be a large number of undetected cases of coronavirus because the disease only causes mild symptoms in most people.

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The coronavirus situation in Norway remains less serious than in other countries, but you can keep up to date with the latest news via this article, which also includes official guidelines on the everyday precautions you can take and what to do if you have travelled to outbreak areas or are concerned about symptoms. The article will be updated on an ongoing basis.

We are keeping the article paywall-free, which means it will remain open to new or occasional readers. An explanation of this decision can be found at the bottom of the article.


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