China’s central bank will reportedly destroy some cash in areas hard-hit by the coronavirus to prevent contagion.
People’s Bank of China has ordered the return of paper currency in circulation at hospitals, animal markets and buses near the country’s hot zones in order to destruct potentially-contaminated bills, the South China Morning Post reported.
Other locations in the country will have their bills locked up for at least 14 days as the money comes back to local banks, while less impacted areas are required to place cash in a week of quarantine, according to Bloomberg News.
During the quarantine, the cash will be subjected to a disinfection process that involves ultraviolet light.
“Money from key virus-hit areas will be sanitized with ultraviolet rays or heated and locked up for at least 14 days, before it is distributed again,” PBOC deputy governor, Fan Yifei, said.
Nearly 7.8 billion yuan, or $1.1 billion, was removed from circulation in the Guangdong province between Feb. 3 and 13, while another 3 billion yuan, $429 million, or was put back into circulation, South China Morning Post reported.
The government has also halted the transfer of cash across provinces, as well as between cities most impacted by the epidemic, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, the bank will churn out 600 billion yuan, or $85.6 billion, in new bills to the Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, to prevent any disruption to the money supply, officials said.
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