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Can cash spread coronavirus? Go digital, say experts

Forget  avarice, your hardearned money is sufficient to make you ill.

Published: 17th March 2020 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2020 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

money, 100 rupee note, india economy, indian economy, money, cash, currency

For representational purposes (File Photo | Reuters)

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: Forget avarice, your hard-earned money is sufficient to make you ill. If that is not enough, the money you handle has the potential of spreading diseases quicker than you can spend it. This was the gist of a study published in the Future Microbiology, which reported that public health risk associated with the simultaneous handling of food and currency may spread viral infections.

At a time when the Health Ministry has advised people to minimise social contact to avoid contracting coronavirus (COVID-19), several studies point towards the high risk involved in handling currency notes, as they may be virus carriers. Health experts are of the view that people are more prone to contracting the virus if they do not wash their hands after handling cash. The cough secretion present on the notes could enter other person nostrils through hands, experts warned.

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Even the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) recently urged the Finance Ministry to order a larger investigation to assess the chances of diseases spreading via currency notes. Assistant Professor in PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (PSG IMS&R) Arun Padmanandan explained the high-risk transmission of the virus associated with handling banknotes and coins. “India’s top health research body ICMR recently declared that coronavirus spread is inevitable.

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It’s present status of stage-3 means it is in community transmission. Therefore, people must take steps to use digital payment methods. For the people who cannot make payments online, they must resort to practices like washing hands more often.” Arun said that some people use saliva to count banknotes, which is the starting point of many problems. Seems as though if ever there was a time to take the digital plunge, on pain of barter, it is now.

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