While there has been no official mandate as yet to cease using cash for payments, some medical and health experts are recommending that people stop paying for their groceries, petrol and other services with cash, as the virus has been found to be capable of living on surfaces for up to 10 days.
Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar, chair of the George Washington University School of Medicine’s department of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine, told CBS MoneyWatch that “the belief is that these viruses can stay on surfaces in their fully active states for at least 10 days. That includes cash and all kinds of other surfaces that people normally touch, so certainly with the coronavirus, cash handling is a concern”.
Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health also told CBS News that “droplets can live on surfaces, including subway seats and dollar bills. It seems like it could be a path for transmission because it’s something people commonly share and handle”.
In a statement, the World Health Organisation also said that people should be wary of handling cash, as “it is good hygiene practice to wash your hands after handling money, especially if eating or handling food”, but WHO did not confirm that cash was in fact transmitting coronavirus. However, it might be time to rethink cash.
Other payment methods such as credit and EFTPOS cards are a contactless way to pay for necessities, as are payments by phone, online, BPay or direct debit. If you do choose to use cash, be sure to wash your hands directly after handling it.