Training sessions at Newcastle United will be a lot less cordial after manager Steve Bruce said on Friday that players and staff had been advised to avoid handshakes in a bid to prevent spreading coronavirus.
The United Kingdom now has 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus and Bruce said the club were not taking any chances.
“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning. We’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,” Bruce told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s match against Burnley.
“We’re like everybody else. Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. We’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.”
Bruce was given an injury boost with midfielder Jonjo Shelvey — the club’s top scorer in the league — and defender Javier Manquillo coming back from injuries, but said they would make a call on whether defender Ciaran Clark needs ankle surgery.
“He’s damaged his ankle ligaments badly. He’s been excellent this season. He’s been one of our best players, in my opinion, so it’s bad news for all of us,” Bruce said.
“Andy (Carroll) isn’t going to make it but Jonjo has trained for the last 10 days or so. Javier Manquillo is back as well so it’s good to see them back.”