Banknotes may be spreading coronavirus – WHO warns

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised people to use contact-less technology instead of cash as banknotes may be spreading coronavirus.

The infectious COVID-19 virus could be carried on the surface of banknotes for several days, the WHO warned on Monday night.

To stop the spread of the disease, people should use contactless payments where possible and wash their hands after handling cash, a WHO spokesman said.

The Bank of England also recognised that banknotes “can carry bacteria or viruses” and encouraged frequent hand washing.

Last month banks in China and Korea began disinfecting and isolating used banknotes as part of efforts to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

Ultraviolet light or high temperature is being used to disinfect and sterilise banknotes, before the cash is sealed and stored for up to 14 days before being recirculated, China’s central bank said at a press conference.

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