News By/Courtesy: Rajrishi Ramaswamy | 17 Feb 2020 19:33pm IST


  • Rise in death toll due to Corona virus.
  • Central Bank destroys 'infected' cash notes.
  • 4 million yuan of new notes circulated in Wuhan

The death toll of people impacted by the Corona virus outbreak in mainland China has increased to an alarming 1,770 and counting, while the number of reported cases has increased to 70,458. In such a situation, the People’s Bank of China announced a few measures to battle the spread of the virus and to mitigate the deaths caused by it. One of the primary measures is to deep clean and destroy cash that may have been potentially impacted by the virus.

The spread of the virus occurs through commonly touched surfaces, inclusive of door handles, elevator buttons and of the sort. Cash being one of the most used and widely exchanged forms of money in everyday life, the risk it poses with respect to the transfer of Corona virus has put many people in worry.  

Therefore, the Central Government has said that all Chinese banks would now have to ensure that the cash they have in their possession is not disinfected. As a precaution, they have to disinfect potentially infected notes with ultraviolet or UV light and then would have to store the notes for about two weeks, before the notes are released for circulation among the people. According to the state-run tabloid ‘Global Times’, the cash that comes from areas with higher risk of infection like hospitals, would undergo ‘special treatment’ and would be sent to the Central Bank instead of being recirculated. Once these notes reach the Central Bank, they either may be recirculated after careful re-examination or ultimately may be destroyed.

The Central Bank would then be reissuing fresh, uninfected notes in place of those notes which have been destroyed. A Government press release stated that approximately 4 million yuan (official currency of China which is also known as Renminbi) which is equivalent to 4 crore Indian Rupees, to the capital city of Central China’s Hubei province, Wuhan city. The city of Wuhan is where the outbreak of the Corona virus initiated in mainland China.

With respect to this measure, the Central Bank also has introduced another measure, which restricts and suspends the hard-cash transactions in those areas which have higher reported cases and deaths due to the virus.

These measures by the Central Bank have raised certain contentions among health experts. The primary contention is as to how this measure would be helpful in a country where non-cash transactions have gained significance over the years and there has been a reduce in cash transactions. Experts question the level of ‘infection’ in cash and have also stated that the virus will most likely die after a few hours on surfaces and even if it doesn’t, the use of the disinfectants would certainly kill them.

Though these contentions of the experts are reasonably sensible, the Chinese officials are unwilling to take any risk relating to the Corona virus and are taking every measure possible to both fight the outbreak of the virus and also to mitigate the number of deaths and reported cases due to the same and this number is increasing at an alarming rate as the day passes.

Cash being one of the most commonly exchanged things in everyday life has the potential to contain DNA from animals, bacteria, traces of drugs and also viruses, according to a study performed in New York in the year 2017. Though the risk of disease transmission through cash is not that high, as mentioned earlier, the Chinese officials are unwilling to take any risk when the dangerous Corona virus is concerned.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 18 Feb 2020 10:18am IST

Tags : #coronavirus

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