UPDATE: The World Health Organization has pushed back on a report that people should beware of using cash as coronavirus spreads.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told CBC MarketWatch in an email, seeking to clarify comments in a widely cited article in the U.K. media (our source for this original article) reporting that the WHO had said,
“banknotes may be spreading the new coronavirus” and “customers should wash their hands after touching banknotes because infectious Covid-19 may cling to the surface for a number of days.”
The report in the British media said the WHO had suggested customers use contactless payments instead. WHO spokeswoman Chaib said,
“WHO did NOT say banknotes would transmit COVID-19, nor have we issued any warnings or statements about this.
We were asked if we thought banknotes could transmit COVID-19 and we said you should wash your hands after handling money, especially if handling or eating food.” Doing so is “good hygiene practice.”
COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the new virus SARS-CoV-2, had sickened at least 101,601 people and killed 3,460 worldwide as of Friday afternoon, with most cases occurring in mainland China, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
The U.S. had at least 259 confirmed cases and 14 deaths as of Friday evening.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts believe that COVID-19 spreads primarily from person to person, between people who are within around six feet of each other and through droplets produced by a sick person’s cough or sneeze. The WHO also says that
“the disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales,” and recommends keeping more than three feet away from a sick person.
The CDC says people can possibly get the disease by touching an infected object or surface “and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” but experts don’t believe this is the main mode of transmission,
Chaib gave 10 preventative measures:
1. “Clean your hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with soap and water.”
2. “Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant – for example kitchen benches and work desks.”
3. “Educate yourself about COVID-19. Make sure your information comes from reliable sources.”
4. “Avoid traveling if you have a fever or cough, and if you become sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once you get home, make contact with a health professional and tell them about where you have been.”
5. “Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, or use a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately into a closed rubbish bin, and then clean your hands.”
6. “Take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas if you are over 60 years old, or if you have an underlying condition.”
7. “If you feel unwell, stay at home and call your doctor or local health professional.”
8. “If you are sick, stay at home, and eat and sleep separately from your family, use different utensils and cutlery to eat.”
9. “If you develop shortness of breath, call your doctor and seek care immediately.”
10. “It’s normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially if you live in a country or community that has been affected. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your workplace, school or place of worship.”
(via CBS Marketwatch)