MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. The administration of the Russian Premier League (RPL) has no plans prohibiting traditional handshakes of players and match officials before the start of football games as a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus spread, the RPL press service announced to TASS on Friday.
England’s Premier League announced on Thursday a ban on handshakes between players and match officials starting with the 29th round of the tournament as part of the preventive measures against the novel coronavirus. The same decision was made earlier by the national football championships of France and Scotland.
Asked by a TASS correspondent whether the traditional procedure of shaking hands before matches would be also temporarily banned in Russia as part of the coronavirus countermeasures, the press service of the RPL replied that it was not the case.
"We have a procedure [stipulated in the regulations] regarding how the teams are greeting each other," the press service stated. "The Russian Premier League has the right of introducing changes to its technical regulations, if only it considers them to be necessary."
According to technical regulations of the RPL, "after the greetings of spectators, players of the visiting team start shaking hands with match referees and then with the players of the hosting team. Then, the players of the hosting team must shake hands with the match officials as well."
On December 31, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown etiology in Wuhan, an economic and industrial megalopolis with a population of 11 million.
The virus was identified on January 7 as 2019-nCoV. As of today, 93 countries and territories, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases.
The World Health Organization declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, characterizing it as an epidemic with multiple locations. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated on February 11 that the organization gave the novel coronavirus an official name of COVID-19.
According to the latest reports, over 100,300 cases of patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in China and other countries. The virus’ death toll has reached 3,408, yet more than 55,980 patients have recovered from the disease.