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COVID-19: Virologist seeks cashless society, says virus moves faster through notes

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A virologist and medical laboratory scientist, Dr Solomon Chollom, on Friday called on Nigerians to go cashless in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

Chollom, who is with the National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency, on Friday in Abuja.

According to him, it is important to know that one of the possible transmission routes for COVID-19 is through the exchange of naira notes in the open markets.

The expert said that preliminary studies on the virus revealed that the virus could remain viable on surfaces for hours, stretching into days, depending on the humidity of the area.

He said that Nigerians would be safer if there was no cash circulating through various unwashed hands.

“To make this possible, mobile network providers should strengthen their transmission efficiency and effectiveness to forestall possibility of failed transactions with the use of mobile phones, ATMs or POS,” he said.

Chollom said that the congestion on some ATM posts and lack of adherence to social distancing should immediately be addressed.

“This should be in addition to the provision of hand wash stations and alcohol-based hand sanitizers for use by customers.

“Agencies like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and the Nigerian Police should ensure compliance to these key medical sugestions.

“If traders must collect cash in the open market, they should be advised to use hand gloves and also spray the naira notes with alcohol-based sanitizers at close of business everyday, as a precautionary measure.

“These measures will go a long way to limit the possibility of human-to-do human transmission of the virus via contact,” he said.

Some studies have suggested that paper bills could contain bacteria and viruses, leading to the spread of disease as they are covered with germs.

According to the Federal Reserve, lifespan of various bills ranges from four to 15 years, meaning your bills have a lot of time to accumulate germs.

In China, where there are more than 80,500 cases of COVID-19, banks began disinfecting cash with ultraviolet or heat treatments in February, 2020 to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The World Health Organization(WHO), is yet to issue any warning or statement about the use of cash, in spite of these reports. But it has consistently  pushed for contactless payments.

WHO has also reiterated the washing of hands, including after handling money, eating or touching food.

According to the Centres for Disease Control, (CDC): ”you should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.

”Using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol is recommended if you can’t wash your hands.

”You also clean and disinfect anything else that you tend to touch a lot, using a regular cleaning spray or wipe,” the centre said recently.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu and Ephraims Sheyin
(NAN)

Abujah Racheal: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng