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Swedish politician mulls Thai bows to counter swine flu

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12:31 CEST+02:00
While several local parishes of the Church of Sweden are advocating the use of fortified wine to prevent the spread of swine flu during communion, a Swedish politician is proposing a different measure to prevent the virus from spreading - the introduction of traditional Thai greetings in an effort to reduce direct contact.

Moderate Party member of parliament Göran Thingwall, who is also a physician, has suggested reducing the risk of swine flu among Riksdag members by doing away with handshakes and instead adopting the traditional Thai bow. In a letter to the parliamentary speaker, which was published on polticial news website Politikerbloggen, Thingwall wrote:

"During these times of swine flu, I propose that Sweden's Riksdag be proactive in reducing the spread of infection by introducing a new form of greeting. Rubbing elbows against each other is not appropriate because you come too close to each other. [...] Personally, I have adopted the wai greeting [a slight bow often used in Thailand] to great success and with a positive reception. Let us in the Riksdag stand up for the fight against direct contact, which is a major factor in the spread of the virus!"

Metro newspaper reported that Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin stayed home this week with a suspected case of swine flu following a vigorous handshaking session in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm on Sunday.

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