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NSW Health Minister Says Aussies Should Stop Shaking Hands To Combat Coronavirus

As Australia confirmed its first cases of person-to-person transmission of coronavirus, the NSW health minister recommended Aussies stop hand-shaking to avoid the virus that's sweeping the globe.

NSW Health confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the state's total up to nine.

Two of the new cases had a "high likelihood of transmission in NSW", the state's health minister Brad Hazzard said at a press conference.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has suggested people to stop shaking hands to avoid coronavirus. Image: AAP

One of the cases was the sister of a man who had returned from Iran with the disease, while the second locally-acquired case was a 53-year-old male doctor who hadn't travelled for many months.

As Hazzard briefed the public about the latest development he said the community should be cautious, but not alarmed, and common sense should prevail when combatting the virus.

"I won't be changing anything about what I do on a day-to-day basis," he said.

"I will still be enjoying, for example as I did last night, eating at a Chinese restaurant. I feel totally and absolutely safe in that situation."

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But Hazzard did recommend Australians make one key change to their greeting habits.

It's a very Australian thing to do, to put your hand out and shakes hands ... I would be suggesting ... it is time Aussies actually gave each other a pat on the back for the time being.

"No handshaking, it is not necessary at a time when we have a virus that appears to be reasonably active in its endeavours."

The health minister also recommended people "exercise care and caution" when undertaking other activities, such as kissing.

NSW has confirmed its ninth case of coronavirus. Image: Getty

Hazzard said the government and health officials are being transparent with information and urged the public to take precautionary steps to protect themselves from the virus.

"You should certainly be washing your hands before you really do anything and not touching your face," he said.

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It is believed the coronavirus does not have a "long life" if it comes into contact with objects but does still poses a risk of transmission, Hazzard said.