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Cairo: A Saudi doctor, who appeared in a viral video refusing to hug his child for fear of transmitting the coronavirus to him, has said his act was aimed at raising public awareness about the highly infectious disease.

"The aim of the clip was to make citizens and residents aware of hazards of the coronavirus and to comply with arrangements and instructions of the Health Ministry," the doctor, identified as Nasser Ali Al Shahrani, told Saudi newspaper Okaz.

The doctor, who is working at the King Salman Hospital in Riyadh, added he also sought to highlight the family life of health professionals after they finish their work and return home.

He disclosed that he usually calls his wife before he goes home, asking her to stop their children from welcoming him until he changes his medical attire, sterilise his hands and has a shower.

"All colleagues should avoid approaching their children and families until they wash their hands and take the necessary precaitions," he said. Dr Ali added that all health practitioners shed their protective gloves and face masks before leaving the hospital.

The video shows the doctor's child rushing to hug his father who was wearing the medical uniform, but the latter steps backs and then kneels, hiding his tearful face with a hand purportedly for being unable to reciprocate his child's joy for reunion over fears he may transmit the virus to him.