Kenya: Coronavirus - CBK Directs Banks to Quarantine Cash for a Week

Second hand clothes on display at a stall in Toi Market in Nairobi.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge on Wednesday directed all banks in Kenya to quarantine cash for a week to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“To ensure the virus is not transmitted via cash, all coming from banks will be quarantined for one week,” he said.

This is one of the measures which was effected by the CBK to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The CBK governor was speaking at State House when he went to update the President on what measures banks have taken to contain the spread of the epidemic.

He said that the CBK has already effected the emergency measures discussed earlier during their meeting with financial sector stakeholders.

On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kenyans to use mobile money and card payments instead of hard currency in their day-to-day transactions to guard against the spread of the virus.

In his State of the Nation address, Mr Kenyatta appealed to mobile money providers to cut on transaction costs to make the cashless shift affordable.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised people to use contactless technology instead of cash as banknotes may be spreading coronavirus.

On Tuesday, WHO said the infectious Covid-19 virus could be carried on the surface of banknotes for several days.

This prompted China to deep-clean potentially infected cash to limit the spread of the virus.

In February, China’s central bank started to clean thousands of banknotes by using ultraviolet light or high temperatures to cut off the spread of infection through money exchanges.

Cash collected from non-epidemic prevention and control key areas has been stored for more than seven days before being put on the market after being disinfected.

Cash transfers between banks in seriously affected areas have also been suspended and cash received by banks must be sterilised before being given back to customers.

Kenya will be following in the steps of countries such as South Korea, China, and France.

Coronavirus can be spread through contaminated objects as well as droplets and direct contact with infected patients, the WHO said.

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