CURRENCY NOTES: The New Virus Link | Hybiz TV
News that currency notes may be carriers of Corona Virus is shaking up the payment mode. The habit of using the saliva to count notes, a matter of habit for many, is said to be a mode that can potentially carry virus from one person to another. The potential problem is said to be more acute in the case of old notes, particularly of lower denominations.
The Confederation of All India Traders has urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to order “a larger investigation” to assess the chances of diseases spreading via currency notes. According to CAIT, currency notes are most vulnerable to health of people and are easy carrier of communicable diseases and as such a proper investigation is all the more needed and the Government should bring out a comprehensive policy to promote alternative mode of payments including digital payments coupled with incentives and benefits to encourage more and more people for adoption and acceptance of alternate mode of payments in the larger interest of health of the country.
CAIT has cited various studies and media reports to back its demand. The studies quoted by the CAIT claimed that currency notes carry micro-organisms that can cause diseases and infections. Experts have warned that several diseases, including urinary and respiratory tract infections, skin infections and recurrent meningitis, are being transmitted through currency notes. They can also contribute to causing septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome.
CAIT National President MB.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said the trading community was the largest user of currency notes which has alarmed the CAIT to raise this issue. “It is a known fact that currency notes do change hands very frequently and probabilities of its contamination is always high. It is also to be noted that in India most of the people while counting currency notes generally put fingers in mouth for easy counting of notes and people do not care much about hand sanitation which may lead spreading of any kind of virus,” he said.
The CAIT has suggested that Countries like UK, Australia and Canada have switched to polymer notes to reduce the risk of spreading infections through currency. Therefore, the possibilities of usage of polymer notes in India should also be examined.
A report published in the Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences in 2016, for example, says that 86.4% of the 120 currency notes tested at the department of microbiology, Tirunelveli Medical College, Tamil Nadu, were contaminated with disease causing pathogens such as Klebsiella Pneumonia, E.Coli , Staphylococcus aureus. The currency notes were collected from a variety of sources including doctors, banks, local markets, butchers, students and housewives. The notes collected from doctors were also found to be infected.
Another study published in the July 2016 issue of the International Journal of Pharma and Bio Science too has expressed grave concern over both bacterial and fungal contamination of currency , on the basis of a study of 530 notes (1-3 years old) of all denominations and 300 coins of 5, 2 and 1 collected from Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
Another article in the International Journal of Advanced Research in 2016 reveals that 58 per cent of bank notes carried disease causing pathogens. Hundred notes of Rs 100, 50, 20 and 10 denominations collected in Davangere, Karnataka, were checked for the study. Prior to this , a scrutiny of 96 paper currency of various denominations from Rs 5 to Rs 500 and 48 coins, conducted at the departments of microbiology and pulmonary medicine, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, , showed that almost all the samples were contaminated with bacteria, fungus and parasites. Notes of Rs 5 and Rs 10 were most highly contaminated. (Indian Journal of Medicine and Public Health)
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