The World Health Organization (WHO) has denied media reports that banknotes transmit the new coronavirus COVID-19. There is no scientific evidence of an increased risk of contracting a new virus through banknotes.
“WHO did NOT say banknotes would transmit COVID-19, nor have we issued any warnings or statements about this,” said WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib to financial information website Market Watch.
WHO, in turn, reminds the need for hand hygiene, including after touching banknotes. Cash should be treated the same way as other things that infected people could touch - door handles, documents, etc.
The European Security Transport Association (ESTA), which unites 127 global cash management companies, and the European Central Bank exclude the spread of coronavirus through banknotes. The report states that Eurosystem conducts regular research into the potential impact of the production and circulation of euro banknotes on public health.
For the cash to pose a threat of infection, “someone would have to use a banknote to sneeze in”. “Cash is very bad environments for viruses to survive”, says Dr. Christine Tait-Burkard, an expert in infection and immunity at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.
ATMs may pose a certain risk of coronavirus spread. Hundreds of people touch screens every day; enter the pin code on the keyboard. However, representatives of companies providing banking equipment maintenance claim that credit institutions use effective means to disinfect ATMs in order to reduce infection risks.
“We prepared recommendations for banks on servicing ATMs during the quarantine period. Our specialists, who provide technical support for ATMs, are equipped with all the necessary personal protective equipment. They treat all terminal surfaces with special disinfectants, which minimizes the risk of infection through ATMs,” says Tomas Augucevičius, Deputy General Director of BS/2, which provides banking solutions and services in 13 countries.
BS/2 is the part of the Penki Kontinentai Group. The company specializes in IT outsourcing, software development, banking equipment supplies as well as system integration and technical maintenance services in the Baltic countries, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Services and products by BS/2 are available in 80 countries around the world, and its innovative solutions are applied by international organizations and companies. BS/2 clients include the biggest banks in the Baltics, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and other regions.