OXFORD'S Lord Mayor has announced that he will not be shaking hands with anyone 'until the risk from the coronavirus outbreak has diminished'.

Craig Simmons has just returned from a train tour of three of Oxford's twin towns - Leiden, Bonn and Wroclaw - and his hosts discouraged the practice of handshaking while he was there.

Instead, the councillor will use the Sampeah greeting to show respect for visitors, which involves placing palms together in a similar manner to a prayer position.

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Mr Simmons said: "This is a sensible, measured reaction to reduce the risk of infection. It is also, as someone in the public eye, important to set an example. 

"The Sampeah greeting is a respectful, widely recognised, alternative."

Meanwhile young footballers in West Oxfordshire will not be shaking hands at a match tomorrow, and have instead been encouraged to 'bump elbows' instead.

An email circulated by Bloxham FC to players, ahead of a Bloxham Rangers under-12s fixture, shared a message attributed to its league - thought to refer to Witney & District Youth Football League.

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It stated: "League advice is no hand shakes between anyone including managers, assistants, referees, players etc.

"[Instead use] either elbow bumps or just wish each other good luck before the game and then after the game thank the opposition and tell them you appreciated playing the game."

More people are taking precautions after the spread of coronavirus in England, with cases rising to 163 as of this afternoon.

British Airways has also confirmed that two members of staff - thought to be baggage handlers - have tested positive for coronavirus.

Shoppers have been clearing shop shelves of hand sanitiser and cleaning products to avoid infection, with supermarkets and pharmacies selling out at many stores across Oxfordshire.

Some residents appear to be trying to cash in on the shortage, by selling overpriced antibacterial gels on sites like Gumtree and eBay.