“There is nothing to indicate that there is a risk of being infected by the coronavirus via banknotes and coins. The coronavirus that causes covid-19 is primarily spread from coughing and sneezing or via close contact with someone already infected.” says the Riksbank statement.
On January 1st, a new law came into effect requiring banks to provide an adequate level of cash services. The law was designed to protect the more fragile people such as the elderly, migrants, those with disabilities, the rural or those who do not have access to digital payments. The government wanted to make sure that it would continue to be possible to take out and pay in cash, even in rural Sweden.
The Riksbank joins other central banks, including the Deutsche Bundesbank, the Bank of Canada, the Central Bank of Luxembourg and the Reserve bank of New Zealand which have all stated that banknotes and coins do not pose a particular risk of infection for the public.
In Finland, Päivi Heikkinen, Head of the Payment Systems Department stated in a blog that “Previous studies indicate that the risk of viral transmission through banknotes is very low.” “Cash can be used as usual during a coronary pandemic.” she adds, emphasizing that social distancing and hand washing are important to protect both shop staff and ourselves.