Can you contract the coronavirus while exchanging money and visiting the bank? Although there is no researched evidence to back the exact answer to this question, there are chances that COVID-19 can be transmitted via currency notes. The currency notes can be carriers of the virus. Indian banks workers have been working tirelessly as they come under essential services during the pandemic, but they seem to have taken certain precautionary measures to slow down the spread. Banks can turn into a coronavirus hotspot because of the number of footfalls and exchange of currencies and papers. However, some viral videos doing rounds on social media of the way bankers are tackling the problem is commendable. CDC Recommends Use of Cloth Face Masks amid Coronavirus Outbreak: COVID-19 Prevention Tips You Should Know.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) wrote a letter to the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman concerning the possible spread of coronavirus through currency notes. This has raised concerns about the handling of cash in the current situation. "...usage of paper currency which is most dreaded carrier for different viruses and infections due to rapid change of hands between unknown people and thus becomes a health hazard", CAIT said in its letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the body cited the safety of polymer currency, mentioning 13 countries who have switched entirely to these notes, there is still time if at all this solution is applied.
Moreover, as if all this was not enough, miscreants have taken it upon themselves to perpetuate the spread of coronavirus via notes by going out of their way to do so. In a viral video, a man from Maharashtra's Nashik was seen wiping his nose, mouth with currency notes. The accused recorded his act, saying "this is Allah's punishment for you". Although he has been arrested, the video has gone viral on social media instigating fear amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
However, on the brighter side amid two other videos are going viral showing how bankers are handling the situation with the cash/cheque and other documents exchange at Banks. The first video shows the employees using a net bag with a holder to pass on cash or any other document to the customers. This way the spread of the virus can be contained. Watch video:
Inspired by Corona Social Distancing pic.twitter.com/FaPoIUCS42
— Straight Forward (@Raja_Africa) April 1, 2020
In another video, the bankers resorted to using tongs to handle currency notes. In the video, a man can be seen using tongs and cloth iron while receiving money from a customer. Watch video:
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) April 4, 2020
Just recently, the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) made an appeal to people to wash their hands after touching or counting currency. They encouraged their customers to use online and mobile banking and to avoid visiting banks. "Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before and after physical banking/currency counting/AEPS (Aadhaar-enabled payment system) transactions," IBA said in a public appeal.