Cash has long been know for its “dirty” origins, but now the WHO is warning against using cash and moving to contactless payments to slow the spread of Covid-19 or Corona virus.
A spokesperson for the World Health Organization said contactless cards could ‘reduce the risk of transmission’. Notes change hands hundreds or even thousands of times during circulation and can pick up all manner of dirt and bugs as they’re passed around. Experts say the Covid-19 could latch onto currency in the same way that it is able to live on hard surfaces like doorknobs, handrails and handles.
Customers should wash their hands after touching banknotes because infectious Covid-19 may cling to the surface for a number of days, the UN agency warned on Monday night. To prevent the spread of the disease, people should use contactless payments where possible, a spokesman added.
Last night the Bank of England acknowledged that banknotes “can carry bacteria or viruses” and urged people to regularly wash their hands.
A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection in February tested the almost identical SARS and MERS viruses and found they could remain infectious for up to nine days on a hard surface at room temperature.
In China, the government has become so concerned about the virus being transmitted on money that it has started disinfecting and locking away used yuan bills. Last month banks started to use intense ultraviolet light to kill viruses on notes and then to lock the cash away for up to two weeks until it is deemed safe to use.
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