Some British parishioners are being advised to hug rather than shake hands "as a sign of peace" in measures by churches to try to stop the spread of swine flu, a report said Wednesday.
The Church of England has introduced the measure in its Southwark diocese in southeast London as concerns mount about the spread of swine flu in Britain, the Financial Times said.
Some churches have also begun to allow "intinction" or dipping bread in communion wine rather than sharing the chalice, while others have stopped offering wine altogether, the newspaper said.
A British bishop has already advised his diocese to suspend holy water from churches in a bid to halt the spread of the A(H1N1) virus.
The measures follow ones being introduced in other countries, including in Portugal where church goers are to take communion by having the host placed in their hands, not their mouth.
Swine flu has now killed more than 700 people around the globe, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday, as experts debated whether schools should be closed to contain the pandemic.
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