Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday said he has been greeting people with the traditional "namaste" instead of shaking hands as a precaution in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
There are 39 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in India, though none in Maharashtra as yet.
"I like cleanliness. I don't like dirt. You may have seen today that I greet with a namaste if someone comes to shake hands. One may think I am not shaking hands now that I have become deputy chief minister. But it is not so," Mr Pawar said.
He said precaution needs to be taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak and asked all to avoid shaking hands till the crisis passes. Since the virus spread between people who are in close contact and through respiratory droplets, doctors have advised that handshakes be avoided.
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked people to avoid handshakes and start greeting others with "namaste" once again in view of coronavirus outbreak.