Coronavirus: The safe way to handle money

Thursday March 26 2020

Transaction. People exchange money after a

Transaction. People exchange money after a transaction yesterday. The medical fraternity and economists have tipped Ugandans on how to handle money and ably stay safe from contracting the fast spreading coronavirus. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Arthur Arnold Wadero

The medical fraternity and economists have tipped Ugandans on how to handle money and ably stay safe from contracting the fast spreading coronavirus.

Ministry of Health officials and other medical personnel had earlier indicated that money can harbour coronavirus if touched by persons infected by the virus, which makes it a high likely route of transmission.

Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, an economist and lecturer at Makerere Business School (MUBS), advised that Bank of Uganda borrows a leaf from Kenya, which after the outbreak of the covid-19, their central bank opted to sanitise the money.

“Kenya approached it better to address it at a macro-level by recycling cash every week by sanitising the notes themselves,” Mr Ggoobi said.

“The central bank [of Kenya] provided that window where whatever money, banks received, they don’t recirculate it before the central bank had sanitised it. So they [the public] kept on getting new notes which are sanitised,” he added.

Whether it is viable in Uganda, Mr Ggoobi said: “It works perfectly because at moment. The velocity of money depends on economic activity and level of transaction is low [because] the currency itself is not circulating [highly].”

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Efforts to reach Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials for a comment were futile as the known contact of the director of communications went unanswered by press time.

Mr Ggoobi also advised that Ugandans embrace electronic transactions despite Uganda being a cash-based economy.
“You might be willing to do electronic transactions but how many service providers are having this avenue. I would encourage people going forward, to do transaction services instead of cash,” he said.

Mr Ggoobi also advised that Ugandans adhere to the traditional approach issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to use alcohol-based hand rub, frequent washing of one’s hands using clean water and soap each time, they touch money.

This was also supported by Dr Patrick Ogwang, the chairperson of Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda.
“Every 30 minutes or one hour, make sure you sanitise or wash your hands. The best form is the jelly form sanitisers,” he said.

“Why it can stay for long is because the coronavirus are RNA (Ribonucleic acid) particles. They are in form of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). We know that generally DNA is difficult to destroy. But in this case because the virus has some protein, those proteins can be denatured by using radiations such as sunlight and alcohol,” Dr Ogwang said.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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