Woman Fearful Of COVID-19 Accidentally Burns RM1,800 In An Attempt To Disinfect Banknotes

The WHO recently advised people to avoid using banknotes whenever possible.

Cover image via The Paper

A woman in Jiangsu province, China accidentally burnt more than 3,000 yuan (RM1,800) in an attempt to "disinfect" banknotes

According to China news site The Paper, the woman, who was identified only by her surname Lee, put the money, mostly in 100 yuan banknotes, into a microwave for less than a minute.

She feared that the banknotes might be infected with the coronavirus disease.

However, as she walked away, she sensed a burning smell. She quickly rushed to the microwave to turn it off, but all the banknotes were already toasted beyond recognition.

Image via The Paper

With a heavy heart, she brought the money to a nearby bank to ask for help

Image via The Paper

Fortunately, the staff at CITIC Bank managed to confirm the authenticity of the banknotes and exchanged 3,125 yuan worth of new notes for her.

Her decision to disinfect the banknotes is believed to have come after an advisory issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) against using cash in order to avoid transmitting COVID-19

On 2 March, a WHO spokesman told Telegraph UK that banknotes may be spreading COVID-19 because the virus is able to cling to the surface for a number of days.

Since coronavirus can be transmitted through contaminated objects, respiratory droplets, and direct contact with infected patients, the WHO said the public ought to be careful when handling money.

"We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face," Yahoo Finance UK quoted the spokesman as saying.

Additionally, they also added that the public should opt for contactless payment options wherever possible to minimise the risk of contraction.

Last month, banks in China and Korea began disinfecting and isolating banknotes before they were put back to public circulation

Image via The Paper

The banks reportedly use ultraviolet light or high temperatures to disinfect and sterilise banknotes.

The central bank in China said they would also transfer the banknotes to storage to be sealed for 14 days before being recirculated.

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