Patients describe what it's like to contract coronavirus

Hong Kong (CNN Business)As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to batter China, the country’s central bank has implemented a new strategy to contain the virus — deep cleaning and destroying potentially infected cash.

The new measures, announced by the People’s Bank of China on Saturday, aim to contain the spread of the virus, officially known as Covid-19. There is still a lot unknown about the virus, which has infected more than 71,000 people globally and killed 1,775, the majority in China — but it appears to survive for at least several hours on surfaces, according to the World Health Organization.
This is why buildings in affected areas are regularly disinfecting elevator buttons, door handles, and other commonly-touched surfaces — and why people are worried about cash, which changes hands multiple times a day.

    All Chinese banks must now literally launder their cash, disinfecting it with ultraviolet light and high temperatures, then storing it for seven to 14 days before releasing it to customers, said the central Chinese government in a press release Saturday.

    A woman waves out the window of her bus after leaving the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier to be repatriated to the United States on Monday, February 17, in Yokohama, Japan. On Saturday afternoon, the US Embassy in Tokyo <a href="" target="_blank">sent a notice to Americans on board</a> laying out plans to evacuate nearly 400.

    Authorities watch as the Westerdam cruise ship approaches a port in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Thursday, February 13. Despite having no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board, the Westerdam was refused port by four other Asian countries before being allowed to dock in Cambodia.

    A worker has his temperature checked on a shuttered commercial street in Beijing on February 12.

    Beds are made in the Wuhan Sports Center, which has been converted into a temporary hospital in Wuhan, China.

    A child rides a scooter past a police officer wearing protective gear outside the Hong Mei House in Hong Kong on February 11. More than 100 people evacuated the housing block after four residents in two different apartments tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Relatives of quarantined passengers wave at the Diamond Princess cruise ship as it leaves a port in Yokohama, Japan, to dump wastewater and generate potable water. Dozens of people on the ship <a href="" target="_blank">are infected with coronavirus.</a>

    The Deneway branch of the County Oak Medical Centre is closed amid coronavirus fears in Brighton, England, on February 11. Several locations in and around Brighton were quarantined after <a href="" target="_blank">a man linked to several coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom</a> came into contact with health-care workers and members of the public.

    A police officer, left, wears protective gear as he guards a cordon at the Hong Mei House in Hong Kong on February 11.

    A worker wears a protective suit as he waits to screen people entering an office building in Beijing on February 10. China's workforce is <a href="" target="_blank">slowly coming back to work</a> after the coronavirus outbreak forced many parts of the country to extend the Lunar New Year holiday by more than a week.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping has his temperature checked during an appearance in Beijing on February 10.

    Photojournalists wearing face masks take photos of a bus carrying passengers after they disembarked from the World Dream cruise ship in Hong Kong on February 9. <a href="" target="_blank">More than 5,300 people were quarantined on two cruise ships</a> off Hong Kong and Japan.

    People participating in a Lunar New Year Parade in New York City hold signs reading, "Wuhan stay strong!" on February 9.

    A shopper walks past empty shelves at a grocery store in Hong Kong on February 9. China's Ministry of Commerce <a href="" target="_blank">encouraged supermarkets and grocery stores</a> to resume operations as the country's voluntary or mandatory quarantines began to take an economic toll.

    A worker wearing a protective suit uses a machine to disinfect a business establishment in Shanghai, China, on February 9.

    Workers in protective gear walk near the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama on February 7.

    People in Hong Kong attend a vigil February 7 for <a href="" target="_blank">whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang. </a>Li, 34, died in Wuhan after contracting the virus while treating a patient.

    A woman grieves while paying tribute to Li at Li's hospital in Wuhan on February 7.

    The Anthem of the Seas cruise ship is seen docked at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, on February 7. Passengers were to be screened for coronavirus as a precaution, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.

    A light installation is displayed by striking members of the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance and other activists at the Hospital Authority building in Hong Kong on February 7.

    Passengers are seen on the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked at the Yokohama Port on February 7.

    Flight attendants wearing face masks make their way through Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on February 7.

    Workers check sterile medical gloves at a latex-product manufacturer in Nanjing, China, on February 6.

    A woman wears a protective mask as she shops in a Beijing market on February 6.

    This aerial photo shows the Leishenshan Hospital that is being built in Wuhan, China, to handle coronavirus patients.

    A passenger shows a note from the World Dream cruise ship docked at the Kai Tak cruise terminal in Hong Kong on February 5.

    A mask is seen on a statue in Beijing on February 5.

    An ambulance stops at a traffic light in front of the Grand Lisboa Hotel in Macao. The virus turned China's gambling mecca <a href="" target="_blank">into a ghost town.</a>

    A dog in Beijing wears a makeshift mask constructed from a paper cup.

    Striking hospital workers in Hong Kong demand the closure of the border with mainland China on February 4.

    The Diamond Princess cruise ship sits anchored in quarantine off the port of Yokohama, Japan, on February 4. It arrived a day earlier with passengers feeling ill.

    A medical worker wearing protective gear waits to take the temperature of people entering Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong on February 4.

    Medical workers in protective suits help transfer patients to a newly completed field hospital in Wuhan.

    People wearing protective overalls talk outside a Wuhan hotel housing people in isolation on February 3.

    A man stands in front of TV screens broadcasting a speech by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on February 3. Lam said the city would shut almost all border-control points to the mainland.

    A colleague sprays disinfectant on a doctor in Wuhan on February 3.

    Commuters in Tokyo walk past an electric board displaying dismal stock prices on February 3, the first business day after the Chinese New Year. Asia's markets recorded their <a href="" target="_blank">worst day in years</a> as investors finally got a chance to react to the worsening coronavirus outbreak.

    Medical workers move a coronavirus patient into an isolation ward at the Second People's Hospital in Fuyang, China, on February 1.

    Children wear plastic bottles as makeshift masks while waiting to check in to a flight at the Beijing Capital Airport on January 30.

    Passengers in Hong Kong wear protective masks as they wait to board a train at Lo Wu Station, near the mainland border, on January 30.

    A volunteer wearing protective clothing disinfects a street in Qingdao, China, on January 29.

    Nanning residents line up to buy face masks from a medical appliance store on January 29.

    Lyu Jun, left, a member of a medical team leaving for Wuhan, says goodbye to a loved one in Urumqi, China, on Tuesday, January 28.

    A charter flight from Wuhan arrives at an airport in Anchorage, Alaska, on January 28. The US government chartered the plane to bring home US citizens and diplomats from the American consulate in Wuhan.

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in wears a mask to inspect the National Medical Center in Seoul on January 28.

    Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, attends a news conference in Hong Kong on January 28. Lam said China will stop individual travelers to Hong Kong while closing some border checkpoints and restricting flights and train services from the mainland.

    Workers at an airport in Novosibirsk, Russia, check the temperatures of passengers who arrived from Beijing on January 28.

    Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, speaks during a news conference about the American public-health response.

    Two residents walk in an empty park in Wuhan on Monday, January 27. The city remained on lockdown for a fourth day.

    A person wears a protective mask, goggles and coat as he stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing on Sunday, January 26.

    Medical staff members bring a patient to the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Saturday, January 25.

    People wear protective masks as they walk under Lunar New Year decorations in Beijing on January 25.

    Construction workers in Wuhan begin to work on a special hospital to deal with the outbreak on Friday, January 24.

    Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters on January 24 about <a href="" target="_blank">a patient in Chicago</a> who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient was the second in the United States to be diagnosed with the illness.

    A couple kisses goodbye as they travel for the Lunar New Year holiday in Beijing on January 24.

    Workers manufacture protective face masks at a factory in China's Hubei Province on Thursday, January 23.

    Shoppers wear masks in a Wuhan market on January 23.

    Passengers are checked by a thermography device at an airport in Osaka, Japan, on January 23.

    People wear masks while shopping for vegetables in Wuhan on January 23.

    A militia member checks the body temperature of a driver in Wuhan on January 23.

    Passengers wear masks as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines, on January 23.

    A customer holds boxes of particulate respirators at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on January 23.

    Passengers wear masks at the high-speed train station in Hong Kong on January 23.

    A woman rides an electric bicycle in Wuhan on Wednesday, January 22.

    People in Guangzhou, China, wear protective masks on January 22.

    People go through a checkpoint in Guangzhou on January 22.

    Medical staff of Wuhan's Union Hospital attend a gathering on January 22.

    Health officials hold a news conference in Beijing on January 22.

    Cash that comes from high-risk infection areas, like hospitals and wet markets, will be “specially treated” and sent back to the central bank instead of being recirculated.

    And in the central bank’s Guangzhou branch, these high-risk banknotes may be destroyed instead of merely disinfected, according to state-run tabloid Global Times.
    To make up for the supply, the bank will issue large amounts of new, uninfected cash; in January, the bank allocated 4 billion yuan (about $573.5 million) in new banknotes to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, said the government press release.
    Other measures includes suspending physical cash transfers between hard-hit provinces, to limit the possibility of virus transmission during the cash’s transit.
    It’s unclear how “infected” cash in China may actually be — the virus likely dies after a few hours on surfaces, especially if it’s been killed with disinfectant. And most people in urban centers don’t use cash anyway — mobile payment apps are near-ubiquitous.
    But as previous studies have found, money can be incredibly dirty. Each dollar, passed person to person, samples a bit of the environment it comes from, and passes those bits to the next person.
    The list of things found on US dollar bills includes DNA from our pets, traces of drugs, and bacteria and viruses, according to a 2017 study in New York.
    That doesn’t mean cash is actually dangerous for our health; disease transmission linked to money is rare, and no major disease outbreaks have started from our ATMs. But with new cases being reported every day in China, the country’s officials are taking no chances.
    The new measures indicate “the financial system’s full support in fighting the virus and resuming production,” the government press release said.

    China struggles to contain coronavirus

    Since the outbreak began in Wuhan in December, it has spread to 28 countries and territories, sparking travel restrictions and emergency measures worldwide.
    Small businesses drive China's economy. The coronavirus outbreak could be fatal for many
    But mainland China remains the hardest hit. Of the 1,775 coronavirus deaths worldwide, only five occurred outside of mainland China. And of the 71,319 cases worldwide, 70,548 are in mainland China.
    To limit the spread of the virus, Chinese authorities have implemented a number of other drastic measures including placing 60 million people under full or partial lockdown. People aren’t just afraid to touch money — just going outside risks infection, so many have stayed at home for the past few weeks, only venturing out to buy groceries.
    Even when they do go out, they wrap themselves in protective plastic; travelers at a Beijing train station this week were seen wearing disposable plastic gloves, shower caps, full-face plastic visors, and even full-body plastic ponchos.

    A traveler in Beijing's South Railway Station on February 15, 2020.
    The lockdowns and halt in business have also taken a toll on the Chinese economy, with some warning that the outbreak could cost China $62 billion in lost growth. Experts warn that if businesses shut down entirely, unable to survive the prolonged suspensions, it could result in mass layoffs, unemployment, and housing foreclosures.

      And so, millions of people are beginning to resume work — in the safety of their apartments, in what may be the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment.
      Meanwhile, Chinese and international experts continue working together to learn more about the virus and contain its spread. On Sunday, a team of WHO and international experts arrived in Beijing for a joint mission with their Chinese counterparts, to analyze data and determine next steps for both China and the world.
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