South Koreans are burning large amounts of money in botched attempts at disinfecting cash, according to the country’s central bank, Reuters reported.

The Bank of Korea reported Friday that it had received 1.32 billion won ($1.1 million) worth of burned bills between January and June, one-third more than the 480 million ($400,000) returned to it during the same time last year. The bank attributed the increase to people trying to disinfect their money amid fears of the novel coronavirus, which studies have shown can linger on paper surfaces for several hours.

“There was a considerable amount of bills being burned in the microwave ovens in the first half of this year,” a Bank of Korea official told Reuters. Others were reported damaged from washing machines.

Overall, the bank reported that since the start of 2020 it had destroyed damaged coins and cash amounting to 2.69 trillion won. In the same period, it exchanged 6.5 billion won worth of damaged money.

Since March, the Bank of Korea has been putting bank notes under a two-week quarantine before returning them to circulation as an infection control measure.

Source: The Washington Post


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