Namaste, the #nohandshake hand gesture for the age of coronavirus


“Nice to meet you, but how to greet you?” ran NPR’s headline in acknowledgement of this conundrum for the age of coronavirus.

With hand hygiene in focus and the handshake taboo, how do you greet someone?

A fist bump seems rather childish. The elbow bump a little too familiar. Perhaps the namaste, the joining of hands, from India, is best. It’s respectful, formal and allows the right level of social distancing.

Prince Charles appears to think so, adopting the namaste as he met Ant and Dec, Pierce Brosnan and other celebrities at the Prince’s Trust awards.

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been encouraging his countrymen to adopt the namaste with a nifty demonstration.

Even US president Donald Trump, who continued until the weekend to shake hands as freely as possible, was practising a namaste earlier in the week when he met Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office. Both men joked about not shaking hands.