Corona Virus: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) orders currency ‘quarantine’

Everyone are counting notes in daily life. Be it rich or elderly, young or young children all touch notes in daily life. However, due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, the task of smuggling notes or counting them has increased the risk of being affected by the outbreak.

To reduce this risk, the State Bank of Pakistan has also instructed banks to issue currency notes to their customers, which are regularly quarantined. These currency notes typically include notes that are being deposited in banks from different hospitals.

How can currency notes cause harm?

Can currency notes spread the Corona virus? Medical experts in this regard say that the chances of its spread through currency notes are imminent.

Expert infectious diseases and a laboratory’s chief executive officer Dr. Farhan Isa Abdullah say of the spread of the corona virus through currency notes that the virus survives some days on plastics and paper. According to them, the duration of the virus on the paper can be one to two days if the sun is directly exposed to the paper.

He said that currency notes because they are in pockets, pillows or lockers, so if they contain a virus, the survival time may be longer.

Sinha and Public Health Expert, a doctor at Sindh Services Hospital, said that when the notes come out of the State Bank once they are hidden, they go through so many hands until they are destroyed. Various studies have been published about the presence of germs.

Regarding the transfer of currency notes by Corona virus, Dr. Otto said there were residences that notes used by an infected person could cause the virus to spread further.

How are the notes kept in quarantine?

In order to curb the spread of the virus through currency notes, the State Bank of Pakistan has issued instructions to all the banks operating in the country which include other precautionary measures as well as instructions on the currency notes.

Banks have been issued specific instructions for using currency notes received from hospitals, especially for quarantine.

According to people in the banking sector, keeping notes in quarantine means that such notes should be properly packaged and sprayed on them and sealed and kept aside for some time. Banks will have to inform the State Bank of Pakistan about the currency notes held in Quarantine, which will print new notes in exchange for these notes and deliver them to the banks.

The central bank has asked banks to take precautionary measures regarding the currency notes deposited in hospitals’ accounts as well as currency notes deposited in other accounts.

It is to be noted that the State Bank will have to be informed about the total amount of currency notes held by the banks which are owned by the State Bank (SB) and in turn the Central Bank (CB) will print the new note and issue it to the banks.

Have to move towards digital transactions

Former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Saleem Raza, called timely measures of his former institute to prevent the spread of the Corona virus outbreak. He said that in order to prevent its spread through currency notes, we have to move more rapidly towards digital banking transactions.

Rejecting the impression of inflation from printing new currency notes, Saleem Raza said that the State Bank of Pakistan was not increasing the money supply but would only print new notes in exchange for old notes.

According to him, when the government receives money from the State Bank, it does not mean that it is raising money in the form of new notes.

According to banker Munir Kamal, about 30% of the total money supply in Pakistan consists of cash transactions. The currency notes go through a lot of hands in these cash transactions. He said that the trend of in-line banking is growing in Pakistan, but cash transactions are still mostly business transactions. He said that credit card and debit card use in Pakistan today is much less than cash transactions.

These experts say the State Bank of Pakistan has measures to curb the spread of the Corona virus through currency notes, which can be useful to banks’ branches. Therefore, the online and digital banking sector has been developed, to avoid corona virus on human hand on currency notes to be prevented.

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