Catholic bishops in the country, under the banner Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), has banned catholic Christians from shaking hands amid concerns of the spread of deadly coronavirus.
ECM’s President, Most Reverend Thomas Luke Msusa, announced the ban in a statement dated 13 March 2020.
Reverend Msusa also encouraged Catholics to wash their hands before entering the Churches or other places of worship as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“There should be no sign of peace during Mass such as a handshake, hug or any bodily contact.
Catholic faithful should line up when receiving Holy Communion not kneeling in order to ensure the proper distance between them,” reads the statement in part.
The statement further ordered ministers to thoroughly wash their hands with sanitizers before and after the distribution of the Eucharist.
Corona Virus Disease officially referred to as Covid-19 is an outbreak that has since spread to at least 114 countries across the globe.
It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The virus has since killed over 4, 600 people, with infections exceeding 126 000 cases.
On Wednesday this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak as a pandemic. However, Malawi has yet to register a case of the virus.