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Contactless transactions set to rise amidst WHO's advice to avoid bank notes

04 Mar 2020

We’ve all been told to wash our hands whilst singing “Happy Birthday” (twice) or if you’re Boris, “God Save the Queen” but now The World Health Organisation is advising consumers to avoid handling bank notes and switch to contactless payments instead to prevent spreading coronavirus.

The advice follows China and Korea’s isolation and  disinfection of used bank notes, which are known carriers of viruses and bacteria.

A 2017 study of used bank notes in New York found 397 distinct bacterial species crawling across the bills.

A World Health Organisation spokesperson told The Telegraph: 'We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses.

'We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face.

'When possible it would also be advisable to use contactless payments to reduce the risk of transmission.'