China destroying, disinfecting currency amid coronavirus outbreak: Report

The central bank uses tools like high temperatures and ultraviolet light to disinfect the currency

China is disinfecting and even reportedly destroying currency to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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The Guangzhou branch of the Chinese central bank ordered paper currency in sectors likely to be exposed to the virus be gathered for destruction, the South China Morning Post reported, citing news outlet Caixin.

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Guangzhou is south of Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak is most concentrated. The bank branch will destroy all banknotes from hospitals, farmers markets and buses, according to the South China Morning Post.

Commercial banks are being instructed to disinfect banknotes from certain sectors and hand them in to the People's Bank of China. The central bank uses tools like high temperatures and ultraviolet light to disinfect the currency, which is supposed to stay out of circulation for 14 days.

A 100 yuan banknote (R) is placed next to a $100 banknote in this picture illustration taken in Beijing November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

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Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the central bank, said Saturday that 600 billion yuan, the equivalent of $85.6 billion, in new banknotes have been distributed in China since Jan. 17.

China is also at the forefront of electronic payment technology, including some scanners that allow customers to pay for goods via a facial recognition system.

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