Greeting proposal

Keith Alfred Adolph Blake, Ottery

This is an open letter to our ministers and officials who are advertising widely on media channels that, when we cough or sneeze we must do so in the inner bends of our elbows.

In the same breath our same ministers and officials tell us not to shake hands while greeting but rather we must greet with our outer elbows.

Even our honourable president and commander-in-chief Cyril Ramaphosa advertised and encouraged this form of greeting.

Allow me as a caring citizen to correct our president, the ministers and government officials in a constructive manner.

By coughing and sneezing in the inner elbow, if we are infected, we are placing a misty, moist or vapour form of coronavirus en masse on and around the elbow.

This is the same elbow we must connect to another to greet.

It is the most dangerous act of love and respect to another person.

I propose that we do not at all touch each other but rather greet like the Chinese have for centuries: fold our hands, one above the other.

I hope my contribution can help save an infection of the coronavirus.

My motto here is, “we learn with respect from each other”.

Premier Alan Winde responds:

Mr Blake wrote to me with his concerns regarding the “elbow” handshake.

I whole-heartedly agree that we should not be partaking in any sort of greeting which requires physical contact.

As the Western Cape Government is advocating that people stay 1.5 metres away from each other, I responded that the elbow tap demonstrated by President Cyril Ramaphosa would be difficult to do from this distance.

In the interim, Mr Ramaphosa has also announced a national lockdown, in which people are required to stay inside their homes.

Handshaking, elbow-tapping or any form of physical contact should therefore not be necessary if we are all staying inside our homes.

The lockdown rules state that the only time you may leave your home is if you are employed to provide an essential service, you are buying food, going to the pharmacy, seeking medical attention or collecting a grant.

I suggest that if you do see someone you know while out performing one of these permitted tasks, you wave say hello or, indeed, use the gesture common in the East to greet – all from a safe distance of 1.5 metres. I am sure people will understand.

We can only flatten the curve and stop the spread if we all work together.