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Dirty Money

Jul 06, 2020

Residents of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates have been warned to only use disinfectant wipes or sprays to sanitize their money. The advisory was issued after a man attempted to disinfect his money by placing it in a microwave, which burned the bank notes.

Gulf News reports that Dubai police say that the burnt notes were just one of many extraordinary cases that have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic. Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Saleh Al Janahi said, “Due to fear and panic, some members of the public take extreme efforts to disinfect their belongings, but they do so in inappropriate ways.” Thankfully, damaged banknotes can be replaced at a bank.

The UAE Central Bank had issued guidelines indicating that bank notes should, like any other surface,  be sanitised and disinfected: The same precautionary measures as for other surfaces should be applied to bank notes, such as cleaning it with antiseptics, or washing your hands after each use.

The guidelines also encouraged customers to use electronic forms of banking, minimizing the need to use banknotes, and visit banks and ATMs.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank said that tests carried out by European laboratories showed that bank notes did not pose as high a risk for infection. Executive board member Fabio Panetta said that the survival rate of coronaviruses is “10 to 100 higher” on a stainless-steel surface, than on euro banknotes in the first few hours after contamination. He added, “…it is much more difficult for a virus to be transferred from porous surfaces such as cotton banknotes than from smooth surfaces like plastic.”

The UAE Central Bank’s confirmation on the safety of bank notes followed soon after the ECB’s. So, unless you have money to burn, don’t use a microwave to sanitize your banknotes.

Umm Muhammed Umar


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