Newcastle players banned from shaking hands amid coronavirus fears

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Robert Elliot of Newcastle United and Deandre Yedlin of Newcastle United celebrate after Robert Elliot saves a penalty during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on December 23, 2017 in London, England
Photo: Steve Bardens/GETTY IMAGES

Newcastle United have taken precautions against the coronavirus by banning players and staff from shaking hands every day at the club's training ground.

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which emerged in China's Hubei province in December, has now reached at least 53 countries and killed more than 2,800 people.

The disease was declared as a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and it has already reached England.

The Premier League is instructing clubs to follow the NHS guidelines and advised that clubs make sure staff are self-isolating if they begin to show any symptoms, but there is no suggestion that any extra measures are required at this stage.

And whilst there is no evidence that the Newcastle players or staff are directly affected, the Magpies are acting on medical advice to keep physical contact to the minimum.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce told the media in his Friday press conference:

There's a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning - we've stopped that on the advice of the doctor.

Thankfully, we've got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do.

We're like everybody else, we're glued to the TV for where it's going to go next and let's hope it doesn't get any worse in this country.

Italy is the worst-affected country in Europe with 17 deaths and 655 cases of coronavirus.

That has led to widespread postponements of sporting events at all levels, whilst five of this weekend's Serie A matches are set to be played behind closed doors, including the top-of-the-table clash between Juventus and Inter Milan.

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