‘A hand is still a hand’: Switzerland warns against fist bumps

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‘A hand is still a hand’: Switzerland warns against fist bumps
Fist bumps are no longer OK in these coronavirus times. Image: PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

“First they came for the handshakes and I said nothing…” Swiss health officials have issued new guidelines warning against fist bumps.


For months, fist bumps have been used as an apparent alternative to handshakes. 

But on Monday, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), warned against fist bumps due to the risk of transmitting coronavirus. 

Known in the Swiss media as a ‘ghetto fist’, fist bumps are said by the FOPH to be no safer than handshakes. 

“Hand is hand,” said FOPH spokesperson Adrian Kammer. 

"It doesn't matter whether it's a classic handshake, a high five or a fist."

Fist bumps have grown in popularity across Switzerland since the start of the pandemic. The greeting has even been seen in Swiss parliament. 

The FOPH has even advised against the ‘elbow bump’, another pandemic greeting which has grown in popularity. 

“Touching should be avoided at the moment” said Kammer. 


What is the hygiene-appropriate way to greet each other during the pandemic? 

Swiss health officials haven’t provided specific guidelines, but instead said distance must be the priority and suggested that bowing may be the best way. 

"To greet each other, keep your distance, look each other in the eye, and maybe nod your head - and do it all with a smile.”

“The whole population has to find out together what the new greeting rituals are. A bow with sufficient distance is one of many possibilities.”

"Not touching one another is the new polite and a form of respect at this time."


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