Premier League drop pre-match handshake over coronavirus concern

London (AFP) – Premier League players and officials will not take part in the traditional pre-match handshake from this weekend over fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

Teams have been told by Premier League chiefs that they will still line up as usual before kick-of, but the home team will walk past the away side without shaking hands.

The measure is in respond to the threat of the potentially deadly virus, with more than 90,000 cases reported in 87 countries.

“The Premier League fair-play handshake will not take place between players and match officials from this weekend until further notice based on medical advice,” a statement on the Premier League’s website said. 

“Coronavirus is spread via droplets from the nose and mouth and can be transmitted on to the hands and passed on via a handshake.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool said they will not use child mascots as the Premier League leaders take action against the virus.

In addition to halting the use of youngsters who accompany the players as they walk onto the pitch, Liverpool employees will not travel to high-risk countries.

“We have several new measures in place across LFC operations to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect the health of our employees,” a statement on Liverpool’s website said.

“We have taken proactive measures, including cancelling any staff travel to high-risk countries and reminding everyone of good hygiene practices through notices in/around all our sites.

“We have also activated a health questionnaire screening for all external visitors to all our training facilities, our office locations and other community facilities that we use regularly.

“We are also taking matchday precautionary measures and will not have any mascots on the pitch. Any supporter displaying symptoms that are consistent with the virus should ensure they familiarise themselves with the chief medical officer’s advice on self-isolation.”

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