COVID-19: Infection risk from handling cash is low, Bank of England concludes

The coronavirus does not survive on banknotes at high levels for very long, according to a study.



By John-Paul Ford Rojas, business reporter, Sky News

The risk of catching COVID-19 through handling banknotes is low, research by the Bank of England has concluded.

It carried out the study after noting a decline in cash use during the pandemic – which the Bank said may partly reflect “concerns about the risk of banknotes transmitting the virus”.


But it found that even if exposed to a high dosage equivalent to being directly sneezed on, the virus did not survive at high levels on notes – either of the modern polymer or old-fashioned paper variety – for very long.

Survival of the coronavirus on notes appeared in fact to be lower than on many of the other surfaces with which people come into contact in their day-to-day life.

Researchers, using £10 notes, found the level of virus remained stable for one hour after exposure.

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