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Banknotes can spread coronavirus, WHO warns

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As the coronavirus assumes pandemic proportion globally, the World Health Organisation has warned that banknotes could aid the transmission of the infectious disease.

The United Nations body, therefore, counselled people to rather go cashless when making purchases.

In the event where they handle money, people should make it a regular habit to wash their hands immediately, the global health body added.

The WHO warned that coronavirus could be on the surface of banknotes for several days, hence the need for people to refrain from using money for transactions as much as possible.
quoted a WHO spokesman as saying,

“To stop the spread of the disease, people should use contactless payments where possible and wash their hands after handling cash,” a WHO spokeman was quoted as saying.

“We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses.

“We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face.

“When possible, it would also be advisable to use contactless payments to reduce the risk of transmission,” WHO said.

The Telegraph said the Bank of England also recognised that banknotes “can carry bacteria or viruses” and therefore encouraged frequent hand washing.

It may be recalled that, in February, Chinese and Korean banks embarked on the disinfection and isolation of used banknotes as part of efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

“Ultraviolet light or high temperature is being used to disinfect and sterilise banknotes, before the cash is sealed and stored for up to 14 days before being recirculated,” China’s central bank disclosed at a Press conference.

“Like any other surface that large numbers of people come into contact with, notes can carry bacteria or viruses.

“However, the risk posed by handling a polymer note is no greater than touching any other common surface, such as handrails, doorknobs or credit cards,” the Bank of England said.

The WHO has warned that coronavirus can be spread through contaminated objects, droplets and direct contact with infected patients.

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