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Dutch PM shakes hands with expert seconds after ordering end to handshaking

Mark Rutte, realising his mistake, then bumped elbows with Jaap van Dissel.

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Mark Rutte shakes hands with Head of Infectious Diseases, Jaap van Dissel (RTL Netherlands/AP)

Mark Rutte shakes hands with Head of Infectious Diseases, Jaap van Dissel (RTL Netherlands/AP)

Mark Rutte shakes hands with Head of Infectious Diseases, Jaap van Dissel (RTL Netherlands/AP)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on citizens of the Netherlands to stop shaking hands to prevent spreading Covid-19 and then somewhat undermined his message by shaking hands with the head of the infectious diseases department of the national public health institute.

From this moment on, we stop shaking hands,” Mr Rutte said at a news conference following a crisis meeting of government ministers to discuss the virus, which has killed three people and infected 321 in the country.

“You can do a foot kiss, bump elbows, whatever you want,” he said.

“I see all kinds of great variations on shaking hands emerging at schools, but from today we stop shaking hands.”

As he wrapped up the news conference, he shook hands with Jaap van Dissel of the public health institute, who quickly pointed out the prime minister’s error.

“Sorry, sorry, we can’t do that anymore! Do it again,” Mr Rutte said as he bumped elbows with Mr van Dissel.

PA