Hugging ‘Safer Than Shaking Hands’ When Lockdown Lifts

11 June 2020, 11:50

Hugging is safer than a handshake in some cases
Hugging is safer than a handshake in some cases. Picture: Getty

Hugging is reportedly safer than shaking hands, in terms of reducing the spread of coronavirus.

Experts have claimed hugging is a better option than shaking hands in regards to avoiding the spread of coronavirus, giving people hope they can finally hug family members, especially grandparents, again.

With the UK beginning to slowly ease its lockdown restrictions, people are keen to know when they can re-unite properly with friends and family.

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And soon, hugging loved ones may even be permitted again.

An epidemiologist at the KU Leuven University in Belgium claims hugging ‘is safer’ than a handshake in reducing the spread of coronavirus.

Dr Marc Van Ranst spoke out after Belgium relaxed its lockdown measures, allowing people to meet in groups of up to 10.

He explained: “As far as I am concerned, people are allowed to hold each other. More skin to skin contact increases the risk of transferring the virus.

“A handshake remains difficult, hands come into contact with each other and with the environment, which increases the chance of the spread.

“Shaking everyone’s hand at the conference table, you cannot do that anymore, but I do not recommend replacing that with a hug. Keep the hug for the people you have an affinity with.”

Handshakes should be replaced with an elbow bump
Handshakes should be replaced with an elbow bump. Picture: Getty

Scientists agreeing with Dr Van Ransts pointed out a wave or elbow bump could be used to replace handshakes in settings such as meetings.

However, a long hug with someone who might be asymptomatic but shedding virus particles is still risky and should be avoided at the moment.

Jane Greatorex, a virologist at the University of Cambridge said: “There is the potential for respiratory transmission and surface transmission too.

“It’s hard to assess relative risks but neither are advisable.”

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in Wednesday’s daily briefing people living alone and single parent households can now stay over at another household.

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