United States President Donald Trump and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar greeted each other with the traditional Indian way of 'Namaste' at the White House on March 12. The Indian-origin leader was visiting Washington where they both talked about the coronavirus outbreak and while talking to reporters, Trump said that they both had greeted each other by joining their palms in the namaste pose but added that it was a “weird feeling”.
"We did not shake hands today. We looked at each other and said what we are going to do. You know, sort of a weird feeling," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office
“I just got back from India. And I did not shake any hands there. And it's very easy because they go like this” Trump added while showing the namaste.
Amid the increasing dread of the fatal coronavirus, people have been avoiding touch to contain its spread. Trump also noted on March 13 that both Japan and India “were ahead of the curve”. After showing namaste, the US President showed the Japanese way of greeting, the bowling of head. Trump added that he had “never been a big hand-shaker” but after becoming a politician shaking hands became “normal”.
"I have never been a big hand-shaker, you probably heard. But once you become a politician, shaking hands is very normal. It's a very strange feeling when people walk up and say 'hi'," he said.
Agreeing with Trump, Varadkar also told the reporters that namaste “almost feels impersonal” but the leaders can not afford to think like that in the next few weeks as the world battles the coronavirus outbreak. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic after the virus spread to more than 100 countries, resulting in the deaths of more than 4,900 people worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.