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No more 'cipika cipiki', here's some fun alternative ways to greet people during the COVID-19 outbreak

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, March 13, 2020  /  12:45 pm
No more 'cipika cipiki', here's some fun alternative ways to greet people during the COVID-19 outbreak

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati (right) and fomer vice president Jusuf Kalla greet each other with an elbow bump at the Vice Presidential office on March 12 in Jakarta. (Instagram/jusufkalla)

When meeting others, it is only natural to hold out your hand for a handshake, or even to bump cheeks, colloquially known in Indonesia as cipika cipiki

However, the recent global outbreak of COVID-19 has forced people to avoid touching other people’s hands, not to mention their faces.

People have had to invent new ways to greet others without touching, but that still carry the same level of warmth and politeness.

Below are a few greetings that are quickly replacing the handshake.

Elbow bump


Salam Corona dengan @smindrawati

A post shared by Pak JK (@jusufkalla) on

High-level state officials have to meet important people on a daily basis. When Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati met with former vice president Jusuf Kalla on Thursday, they greeted each other by touching elbows instead of shaking hands.

The elbow bump allows people to interact physically in a safe ways, as you can’t touch your own face with your own elbow.

Read also: Think you know how to wash your hands? Doctors say use this method at 9 specific times

Health experts have advised people not to touch their face, as COVID-19 spreads through droplets entering our bodies through the mouth, nose and eyes. 


The unique Hindu greeting is being widely used to avoid shaking hands. Prince Harry and Prince Charles of the United Kingdom have been seen greeting others with their hands pressed together, palms touching, fingers pointing upwards and with their thumbs close to their chest, accompanied by a slight bow.

The namaste is a great way to avoid physical contact.

Foot-to-foot Wuhan shake

In February 2020, when the world was beginning to realize that COVID-19 was spreading across the globe, Chinese people invented a foot-to-foot greeting known as the “Wuhan shake”.

In a video posted on Twitter that propelled the greeting to popularity, a group of face-masked men can be seen greeting each other by quickly tapping their feet together.

With only their feet touching, it is a great way to greet others without risking virus transmission. (gis)

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