Shaking hands is a common African practice. In fact when Kenya’s two political nemeses put their political affiliations aside and became friends, the action was sentimentally dubbed ‘The handshake’. Refusing to shake a stretched hand in the Kenyan society is the ultimate act of disdain, and you will get told for it.

In light of the new Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, the practice of shaking hands will just have to go. According to World Health Organization, respiratory viruses can be passed through shaking of hands and touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

It recommends, instead, that you do the following:

  1. Wave
  2. Nod
  3. Bow
  4. Touch elbows


WHO also recommends the following measures against the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible
  • Do not touch your face
  • Cough/ sneeze into your elbow or in a tissue and discard it
  • Avoid people who are coughing/sneezing or exhibit flu-like symptoms
  • Visit the doctor if you exhibit flu-like symptoms 

    Also read: African countries with confirmed coronavirus cases