COVID-19 fear: Trump switches to namaste from handshake

India 'ahead of the curve' says Trump after greeting Irish PM with namaste amid coronavirus fears

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Ireland's Prime Minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Credit: Reuters)

United States’ President Donald Trump greeted Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar with a ‘namaste’ instead of a formal handshake at the Oval Office on Thursday, ahead of St. Patrick’s Day.

'We didn’t shake hands today,' Trump said. 'We kind of looked at each other and we said what are we going to do. It’s sort of a weird feeling,' Trump told reporters at the Oval Office.

“I just got back from India and I didn't shake any hands there. It was easy,” he added.


Trump also showed the bowing of head – the Japanese way of greeting. "They (India and Japan) were ahead of the curve," he remarked. The traditional handover of a bowl of shamrocks to celebrate the upcoming St. Patrick's Day was canceled out of an abundance of caution, the White House said.

 Trump conceded on Thursday that his re-election campaign rallies would have to be suspended, and he stopped shaking hands with foreign dignitaries.

WHO characterised the coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11. Globally, about 1,28,343 cases have been reported. The virus has claimed over 4,700 lives so far.

(with inputs from agencies)


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