PARIS (KRON) – France is urging its citizens to refrain from the customary double-cheek kiss in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Health Minister Olivier Véran made the announcement over the weekend, urging the country to cut back on “la bise,” which is the French term for people giving each other air kisses on both cheeks, as is customary in French culture.
“The reduction in social contacts of a physical nature is advised. That includes the practice of the bise,” Veran said at a press conference on Saturday.
The French government also introduced a ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people, as the deadly virus continues to spread across Europe and the rest of the world.
A half-marathon in Paris scheduled for Sunday was canceled as Paris’ Louvre — one of the world’s most famous museums — was also shut on Sunday.
At this time France has reported 30 coronavirus cases, including one on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, plus two deaths.
Worldwide, more than 80,000 people have been infected with coronavirus and nearly 3,000 have died since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China.
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