Currency notes may be spreading coronavirus

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Factoring in the possibility of COVID-19 transmission through articles of daily use like currency notes, the Health department is planning to promote hand hygiene while calling upon the public to switch to alternative modes of payment like digital transactions. Also, the various banks operating in the state have urged employees to exercise caution and use protective gear, including face masks, sanitisers and gloves. Cashiers, who mainly deal with currency notes, are under instruction to remain extra cautious.

“Currency contamination is a major issue. The virus can be passed on through contact with contaminated surfaces. In the case of currency notes, the chances are high since it changes hands several thousand times. So utmost caution is needed,” said a health official.

“The public should use sanitisers after handling currency notes. And the practice adopted by some — putting fingers in the mouth for easy counting of notes — should be done away with,” he added.

MD Gopinath of All India Bank Officers’ Association said, “Some banks have already come out with a circular asking employees to remain cautious and use sanitisers, face mask and gloves. The associations have pointed out that it is the cash section which is the most susceptible to the COVID-19 threat.”

The World Health Organisation had earlier flagged the threat posed by currency notes in spreading infections while recommending other modes of payment.

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