Coronavirus Update: French soccer league outlaws handshakes in matches due to fears about virus spreading

With the coronavirus outbreak spreading throughout the world, a French soccer league is among those taking measures to ensure the safety of its players. In a statement released on Wednesday, the league is prohibiting players and officials from shaking hands.

The French league will also be changing their pre-match protocol after the spread of the coronavirus. 

In addition, players from both teams will line up as they ordinarily do, but won’t exchange handshakes prior to the match. Coaches and match officials also won’t shake hands.

Players and the referee will “hold young mascots by the shoulder” when both teams enter the field of play. The league plans to have these measures in place “until further notice.”

On Wednesday, the top soccer league in Italy also took safety measures to protect people from the coronavirus when they announced that all Serie A matches would be held without any fans in attendance until April.

According to CBS News, the coronavirus has been linked to 70 countries with 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths. There have been 257 cases reported in France as of Wednesday and four people have died as a result of the respiratory disease.

The disease started to spread in the Wuhan province in China earlier this year and the Olympics are potentially in jeopardy, with the 2020 Games set to be held in Tokyo, Japan this summer. As of now, the Olympics are still scheduled to take place as planned.

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