Currency notes turned out to be the “culprit” carrying the coronavirus from infected persons and transmitting them to others, the Andhra Pradesh Police have found out.
This “phenomenon” rings “danger bells” in the state as online transactions are minimal and mostly business is done through cash transactions, the police said, highlighting the “emerging pattern of new tested Covid-19 positive cases.”
A memorandum to this effect was issued a couple of days ago to all Superintendents of Police, city Commissioners, Range DIGs and Guntur Range IG in the state from the Director General of Police’s office.
When asked how the police deduced that currency notes could be a carrier of the coronavirus, DGP D G Sawang told PTI: “There is no proof or any established evidence of contamination by currency notes of any kind whatsoever in the state.”
He denied, “first of all” having sent the memorandum and noted that “our staff in office have incorporated in one of the many routine messages which are sent on a daily basis to keep alerting units on the ground.” It was just one of the possibilities of catching the infection, he pointed out.
The memo, however, caused ripples in the state bureaucracy with the IAS officers taking strong exception to the DGP’s claims, saying it could trigger “unwanted panic” at a time when the state was seriously fighting the pandemic.
“This is a thoroughly baseless circular without any scientific thought. Police can’t act like an authority unto themselves in such sensitive matters,” a senior IAS officer remarked.
The DGP’s memo made some interesting revelations but the health authorities, who are monitoring the coronavirus cases 24×7, did not corroborate them. The DGP’s memo to his subordinate officers said people in East Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts contracted the virus though they did not have any travel history or contact with primarysecondary contacts of any person who travelled within the country or abroad.
“They have done business in which they collected currency notes from many persons while selling goods, essential commodities or collected monthly charges from multiple persons and got infected.
This clearly shows the currency notes as the culprit carrying the virus from infected persons. This phenomenon rings danger bells in our state,” the top police official’s memo said.
It listed cable TV operators, drinking water suppliers, milk vendors as some of the persons collecting money from multiple customers.
Petrol stations, kirana shops, vegetable and fruit vendors and pharmacists also collect money from customers and in the process “may come into contact with contaminated notes.”
Referring to a case in Guntur district, the DGP office said registered medical practitioners who did not have awareness about the virus were treating and collecting money from patients and getting infected. They were also infecting others who come to them for treatment.
In the light of these, the DGP instructed all police unit officers to propagate online transactions and ask people to accept cash only after “sanitizing themselves and the currency notes.