Chinese central bank disinfects, destroys cash to contain virus
By Sola Ogundipe
For the second day straight, the number of the COVID-19 cases in China fell even as the death toll in mainland China passed 2,000 on Wednesday although the number of new cases fell for a second straight day, as authorities tightened already severe containment measures in Wuhan city.
By Wednesday morning, China’s National Health Commission reported 1,749 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, the lowest daily rise since Jan. 29, while Hubei province – the epicenter of the outbreak – reported the lowest number of new infections since Feb. 11.
Chinese officials have said the apparent slowdown in infection rates is evidence the flu-like virus is being brought under control but global health officials say it is still too early to predict how the epidemic will play out.
China disinfects, destroys cash to contain coronavirus
In a related development, China is disinfecting and destroying cash to contain the coronavirus
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As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, the country’s central bank has implemented a new strategy to contain the virus — deep cleaning and destroying potentially infected cash.
The new measures, announced by the People’s Bank of China aim to contain the spread of the virus which appears to survive for at least several hours on surfaces, according to the World Health Organisation.
Buildings in affected areas are regularly disinfecting elevator buttons, door handles, and other commonly-touched surfaces — and why people are worried about cash, which changes hands multiple times a day.
According to reports, all Chinese banks must now literally launder their cash, disinfecting it with ultraviolet light and high temperatures, then storing it for seven to 14 days before releasing it to customers, said the central Chinese government stated.
Cash that comes from high-risk infection areas, like hospitals and wet markets, will be “specially treated” and sent back to the central bank instead of being recirculated.
And in the central bank’s Guangzhou branch, these high-risk banknotes may be destroyed instead of merely disinfected, according to state-run tabloid Global Times.
To make up for the supply, the bank will issue large amounts of new, uninfected cash; in January, the bank allocated 4 billion yuan (about $573.5 million) in new banknotes to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, said the government press release.
Other measures include suspending physical cash transfers between hard-hit provinces, to limit the possibility of virus transmission during transit.