To combat the spread of deadly coronavirus, China’s central bank has urged banks to disinfect used notes and isolate them for up to 14 days.
According to WHO, coronavirus can be spread through contaminated objects in addition to droplets and direct contact with infected patients.
To disinfect the Yuan bills, banks will use ultraviolet light or high temperatures and keep the cash stored for up to two weeks before recirculating them, The Guardian has reported.
China’s central bank deputy governor Fan Yifei said that “banks had been urged to provide new banknotes to customers whenever possible.”
Fan added that the central bank has made an ‘emergency issuance’ of CNY4bn ($573m) in new notes to Hubei province, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.
Fan said that China intends to “secure the public’s safety and health when using cash”
It is believed that since Chinese people have preferred mobile payments over cash since the past few years, the central bank’s disinfection work may not have a wide impact.
The 2017 Ipsos survey states that nearly 75% of the Chinese respondents could survive a full month without using over ¥100 in cash, the report added.
The outbreak has led China to disinfect public places and minimise contact between people.
The disinfectants and surgical masks in pharmacies across the country have been sold out following a lockdown announcement made in the Wuhan city last month.
Furthermore, the People’s Bank of China has begun destroying notes collected by hospitals, buses, and markets in coronavirus affected areas, Markets Insider reported citing a report published by Caixin.
Last month, in response to the outbreak, major banking groups including Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Credit Suisse asked their workers in Hong Kong to work from home after returning from China.
In the same month, banks operating in Hong Kong, including HSBC, said that they will close 20-30% of their branches or cut down service hours temporarily in the wake of the outbreak.
Earlier this month, the Chinese central bank has injected $173bn into the financial system to ensure adequate liquidity.
The Chinese city of Wuhan is the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, which has claimed 1,775 lives as of 17 February.
The total number of positive cases surged to over 71,000 of which 70,548 are in mainland China.
The disease has spread to over 27 countries worldwide.
World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Due to the outbreak, the first death outside China was reported in the Philippines.