■ Business Bureau :
IN THE current critical scenario of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a communication sent to Union Health Minister Harshvardhan has drawn his attention to various reports which states that the currency notes are carriers of infectious diseases. The traders body has further said that it is a matter of concern that whether COVID-19 is spreading with the help of currency notes passing on to different persons. The CAIT has sought an authentic clarification immediately about the fact whether the currency notes are carriers of infectious diseases or not.“If yes, then what are the preventive and safety measures, the Government could suggest, not only for the traders but even for the people of the country so that any prospect of spreading the virus through the currency notes could be contained,” it added.
CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the issue of currency notes capable of transmitting infectious diseases though having concern of the traders since a long time has now assumed much significance in the current period of COVID19 pandemic which has further escalated as various international and national reports available in public domain. It is learnt that the COVID-19 virus, transmitted through droplets, could be passed on even from dried surfaces to humans and therefore, the currency notes having a dried surface is considered to be posing a threat of carrying covid virus also among other viruses and bacteria. Bhartia and Khandelwal referred to three reports available in public domain which amply reflect the concerns of usage of currency notes as carriers of viruses.
They stated that a 2015 study conducted by King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, showed that almost an entire sample of 96 banknotes and 48 coins were contaminated with virus, fungus and bacteria whereas a 2016 study conducted in Tamil Nadu showed 86.4 per cent of 120 banknotes collected from doctors, banks, markets, butchers, students and housewives had various disease causing pathogens and another report in 2016 from Karnataka study showed 58 of 100 notes of Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10 were contaminated.
The business community being the frequent user of currency notes is most prone to such infection. In the context of COVID-19, there is a great fear among the traders across the country about handling the cash currency. “Therefore, a clarification on such an important issue is all the more necessary as the currency is used by every citizen of the country and if it is really a virus carrier then adoption of preventive measures are much required to contain the spreading of Corona virus,” said Bhartia and Khandelwal.