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BSP has no plan to disinfect banknotes

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said there is no need to disinfect or destroy banknotes in the country amid the global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

BSP senior assistant governor Dahlia Luna said they do not see the need to follow the steps taken by the Chinese central bank to prevent the further spread of the virus.

“With reference to the reported plan of the People’s Bank of China to disinfect their paper currency to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the BSP does not see the need to do the same, as there is still no reported local transmission of the COVID-19 in the Philippines,” she said.

Luna urged Filipinos to follow the advice of the Department of Health (DOH) to prevent further spread of the virus.

“We are supporting the advice of healthcare authorities to do frequent hand-washing and maintain good hygiene especially those involved in cash handling,” she said.

Data from the BSP showed money supply in the financial system increased faster at a rate of 11.4 percent to P13 trillion as of end-December.

Latest data from the DOH showed 131 persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 remain in hospitals throughout the country.

There have been two confirmed coronavirus cases and one PUI who died due to cardiac arrest, but tested negative for COVID-19. Of the total 608 PUIs in the country, 495 have tested negative for the virus.

In China, the government has directed banks to launder their cash, disinfect it with ultraviolet light and high temperatures. Banks were also told to store the laundered cash for seven to 14 days before releasing it to customers.

The People’s Bank of China, as part of new strategies to contain COVID-19, implemented deep cleaning and destroying potentially infected cash as the virus continues to batter the country.

Furthermore, cash that comes from high-risk infection areas like hospitals and wet markets are sent back to the Chinese central bank instead of being re-circulated.

And in the central bank’s Guangzhou branch, these high-risk banknotes may be destroyed instead of merely disinfected.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus appears to survive for at least several hours on various surfaces.

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