Your Covid-19 questions answered

Can I catch Covid-19 from bank notes and coins?

10 September 2021 - 07:00
You don’t need to worry about spreading or getting Covid-19 through bank notes or coins. Stock photo.
You don’t need to worry about spreading or getting Covid-19 through bank notes or coins. Stock photo.
Image: Leon Swart/123rf.com

You don’t need to worry about spreading or catching Covid-19 with cash, paper or coin.  

The risk of catching Covid-19 from paper money or bank cards is low compared to person-to-person contact. 

This is according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The centre, however, suggests using touch-free payment methods such as paying over the phone or online when purchasing goods. 

If you must use cash or a debit card, it recommends using hand sanitiser immediately after paying.

“When exchanging paper and coin money, do not touch your face afterward,” said CDC. 

CDC said people can possibly get the virus by touching an infected object or surface and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but it don’t believe this is the main mode of transmission. 

How long can Covid-19 live on surfaces?

study published in medRxiv found the virus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

“Studies suggest that coronaviruses, including preliminary information on the Covid-19 virus, may persist on surfaces for between a few hours and several days,” the research finds. “This may vary under different conditions: type of surface, temperature and humidity.”

For this reason, it is advisable to clean surfaces regularly and to wash your hands frequently.

Where can Covid-19 survive?

The Conversation reported that the virus survives well at low temperatures and it is likely to survive in frozen foods. 

However, several studies have indicated the virus and similar ones are inactivated by cooking food at frequently used temperatures.

It is also likely the virus in food will be at low concentrations. Importantly, Covid-19, like other viruses, cannot multiply outside their hosts. Therefore, it cannot multiply in food.


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