China’s central bank has ordered the return of paper currency in circulation at hospitals, animal markets and buses in areas hard-hit by coronavirus to prevent contagion.
Bills will be locked up for at least 14 days at other locations as the money come back to local banks, while less impacted areas are required to place cash in a week of quarantine, according to Bloomberg News.
During the quarantine, the cash will be subjected to a disinfection process that involves ultraviolet light, according to the report.
“Money from key virus-hit areas will be sanitized with ultraviolet rays or heated and locked up for at least 14 days, before it is distributed again,” PBOC deputy governor, Fan Yifei, said.
Between February 3 and 13, nearly 7.8 billion yuan, or $1.1 billion, was removed from circulation in the Guangdong province while another 3 billion yuan ($429 million) was put back into circulation, the South China Morning Post reported.
The government has also halted the transfer of cash across provinces, as well as between cities most impacted by the epidemic, according to Bloomberg.
The People’s Bank of China will churn out 600 billion yuan, or $85.6 billion, in new bills to the Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, to prevent any disruption to the money supply, officials said.