All paper currency from hospitals, markets, and buses in some regions of China that have been hard hit by the coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, will be destroyed in an effort to control the outbreak.
To ensure the safety of cash transactions, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has ordered the return and withdrawal of banknotes in circulation in order to destruct potentially-contaminated cash.
Around 7.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) was already removed from circulation in the Guangdong province for the past two weeks.
PBOC said it will produce 600 billion yuan ($85.6 billion) of new bills to replace the currency that was taken out and guarantee that there will be no disruption to the money supply.
According to reports, banks in other locations of the country are urged to disinfect the banknotes and hand them in to the central bank.
“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,” said PBOC Deputy Governor Fan Yifei.
The Chinese government has also stopped the transfer of cash in provinces and cities that were hard-hit by the epidemic which has now killed thousands of people in the mainland.
American news and opinion website “The Daily Beast” regarded this initiative as China’s desperate measure to prevent contagion because the virus has infected around 70, 000 individuals around the world and severely impacted the economy.
Reports said that China’s economic growth is expected to slow further until March. The production of most goods and delivery of services have been hampered since late January as more than 50 million workers from the country were forced to stay or work at home.