In a discussion with Dr. Ardalan Sharit from Iran, he explained some of the factors that the statistics are more shocking in Europe and China are religion and people gestures. He said that in Islam, people must perform ablution five times, therefore, washing hands and face regularly is a common habit among Muslims. This point highlighted by the World Health Organization WHO in its latest update as to avoid the COVID-19 infection people must wash their hands regularly. The other thing Ardalan said is that showing public affection or PDA (display public affection) is prohibited in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, this also prevented the disease from spread unlike in the West where display public affection is common. Lastly, Ardalan mentioned that cooking, which was highlighted by WHO, is different in the Middle east. People like to consume their food fully cooked, unlike in other regions that raw food and partially cooked meat are actually one of the routine consumptions in the West and China.
In line with the above, an article published (Mulier & Fourcade, n.d.) talked about the history of kissing and how it was banned by King Henry VI of England in 1439 to battle the plague. Some health authorities urged people to refrain from PDA as it showed by limiting physical contact could help to slow down the march of a disease. The article further explained that in Italy, people started to suggest don’t give a double kiss on the cheek as a greeting or goodbye anymore. In the U.K., virologist John Oxford’s advice people to remain “standoffish” rather than engaging in touchy-feely greetings. However, in the Middle East, greetings by handshakes and kisses on checks are common between the same gender. An article discussed the rituals in the Arab World (Sheta, 2018), actually touching shows more respect to each other but not the same-sex which shows that PDA is also common in this region as in the West but takes with few different traditions. This raises the question again of why COVID-19 why highly spreading in Europe and China?