Fan Yifei, deputy governor of China’s central bank, said Saturday that banks have been urged to provide new banknotes to customers whenever possible.
The central bank made an “emergency issuance” of four billion yuan in new notes to Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, prior to the recent Lunar New Year holiday, Fan added.
The measures are intended to “secure the public’s safety and health when using cash”, Fan said.
But it is unclear how wide an impact the central bank’s disinfection work will have, with increasing numbers of Chinese people preferring mobile payments over cash in recent years.
In 2017, nearly three quarters of Chinese respondents told an Ipsos survey they could survive a whole month without using more than 100 yuan in cash.
According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 can be spread through contaminated objects in addition to droplets and direct contact with infected patients.