Philippines president bans public from touching him because of coronavirus

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has banned the public from touching him over coronavirus fears (Getty Images)

The president of the Philippines has banned the public from touching him because of coronavirus fears.

Rodrigo Duterte has instructed his security team to keep people from making physical contact with him.

The 74-year-old, the oldest person elected as his country’s president, is taking no chances in a bid to avoid catching Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

On Monday, British prime minister Boris Johnson was seen backing out of a handshake.

According to John Hopkins University, the Philippines has had 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus and one person has died. One person has recovered from the virus there.

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Half of the cases were diagnosed on Monday.

In a statement, the head of the President Security Group, Jesus Durante, said: "The PSG will implement a no-touch policy between the president and the public.

"Personalities who are expected to get near will be thoroughly screened.”

The group added that large events which Duterte is scheduled to attend will be reviewed and could be cancelled.

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The new “no-touch” guidelines will also apply to the president’s family, his security team said.

Duterte, often criticised for his human rights record, has declared a state of public health emergency in the Philippines as a result of the coronavirus.

A worker in a hazmat suits cleans a public school in the City of San Juan in the Philippines on Monday (Getty Images)

Authorities will be able to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers under the measures.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the number of confirmed deaths has risen to four, health secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Monday.

In Ireland, the government has cancelled the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin over coronavirus fears. Up to 500,000 from all over the world attend the annual event.

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