China's central bank advises against rejecting cash amid epidemic

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-28 13:15:24|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's central bank on Friday advised businesses not to refuse banknotes over the novel coronavirus as it has enhanced efforts to ensure the cash in circulation is clean to cut off the spread of the virus through money exchanges.

Businesses should improve their services and communication with consumers and not say no to cash, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said, citing recent complaints from the public over sporadic refusals.

The bank said it has increased new banknote supply to the market and organized financial institutions to sterilize cash to ensure safety.

Before the Spring Festival, the bank allocated about 4 billion yuan (about 571 million U.S. dollars) of new notes to Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, while a total of 600 billion yuan worth of new bills had been deployed across the country before Jan. 17.

Cash collected from key epidemic prevention and control areas will be disinfected using ultraviolet light or high temperatures, and stored for more than 14 days before being put back into the market. Cash collected from outside key epidemic prevention and control areas will be sterilized and stored for more than seven days before being put back into circulation, according to a PBOC guideline.

Besides, cross-provincial cash transfers between banks and intra-provincial transfers in seriously affected areas have been suspended to help contain the virus.

The bank also advises people to favor legal non-cash payment tools during the epidemic.