Friday, October 30

Coronavirus Can Remain On Paper Currency For 28 Days, Per New Study

The novel coronavirus can remain infectious for four weeks on banknotes, according to new research by the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, Australia’s top biosecurity laboratory.

These findings reinforce the importance of hand-washing or using disinfecting hand sanitizer after visiting an ATM or handling cash.

The researchers tested how long the coronavirus survived on both paper and polymer banknotes at various temperatures. They found that the coronavirus can survive “to at least 28 days” on both types of banknotes, which is significantly longer than the seasonal flu virus’s “demonstrated survival up to 17 days” at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit).

“The persistence of virus on both paper and polymer currency is of particular significance, considering the frequency of circulation and the potential for transfer of viable virus both between individuals and geographic locations,” wrote the researchers.

In the United States, banknotes are printed on paper. Polymer banknotes are used in over 20 countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

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“It is also noted that prior to SARS-Cov-2 being declared a pandemic, China had commenced decontamination of its paper based currency, suggesting concerns over transmission via paper banknotes existed at the time,” wrote the researchers. “The United States and South Korea have also quarantined banknotes as a result of the pandemic.”

The study also found that the novel coronavirus could survive at room temperature for weeks on a variety of other surfaces. “It is important to note that after 28 days, infectious SARS-CoV-2 was also recovered from stainless steel, vinyl and glass, suggesting survivability on paper or polymer banknotes was not very different from the other non-porous surfaces studied.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on running essential errands recommends using online banking and touchless payment options when possible, and includes several relevant pieces of advice:

  • “Use drive-thru banking services, automated teller machines (ATM), or mobile banking apps for routine transactions that do not require face-to-face assistance as much as possible.”
  • “Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol after any deposit, withdrawal, exchange, drive-thru visit, or use of an ATM.

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