A large number of South Koreans who are worried of getting infected with the novel coronavirus by touching on currency noted laced with the virus are putting banknotes in their microwaves and washing machines which is damaging the bills, as they try to cleanse the notes of the virus.
In the past six months, South Koreans had exchanged three times more of burnt currency than in the same period a year ago, said the country’s central bank on Friday and the bank believes that much a majority of these damaged and burnt notes are a result of efforts to kill the virus suspected to be on the notes by the residents.
Between January and June, the total value of the banknotes returned to the central bank because they were burnt had increased to 1.32 billion won (845,784 pounds) from 480 million (304,529.8 pounds) in the same period a year ago, a Bank of Korea official reportedly told the media.
“There was a considerable amount of bills being burnt in the microwave ovens in the first half of this year,” the official said, referring to efforts to prevent the coronavirus.
The central bank had destroyed in the forts half of 2020, a total of 2.69 trillion won worth of damaged notes and coins while it also exchanged 6.5 billion won worth of damaged notes and coins, the central bank said in a statement.
The bank said that some people even tried to disinfect notes by putting them in their washing machines in addition to others disinfecting them in microwaves or ovens by heating the bills.
The media cited an example of given by the bank in which an individual with the surname of Um had come to the bank to exchange notes worth at least 35.5 million which he has had got damaged after he had put them inside a washing machine to clean and disinfect them.
The BOK said that ultimately the individual was given back only 22.9 million won as he lost out about 35 per cent of the original worth of the money which he had received as condolence donations for funeral expenses for a family member.
In another example of a similar case, the bank reported another individual with a surname of Kim came to the bank to exchange damaged notes worth 5.2 million won which he had put inside a microwave to sterilise the money and get rid of Covid-19 germs. The individual as able to redeem most of the money that was damaged because there were limited damages to the notes.
In March, the bank had announced its plans of quarantining bank notes for two weeks to remove any traces of the coronavirus, and had even started to burn down some of the notes in their efforts to slow down the spread of the novel coronvirus pandemic.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)