As part of preventive measures against the spreading coronavirus, several banks have instructed their tellers to use rubber-made hand-gloves while dealing with banknotes.
During a visit to Bank Asia's Dilkusha branch in the capital on Monday, The Business Standard saw only a handful of clients were queuing in front of the counters to cash their cheques and the tellers were handing over the money to the customers wearing hand-gloves.
Although this scenario is not so familiar in other local banks, a client named Aminul Islam said he was not surprised at this as everybody is now very conscious amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bank officials at the branch said they felt safe wearing hand-gloves, because banknotes might carry and transmit the virus as they move from one people to another.
Md Arfan Ali, president and managing director of Bank Asia, said, "Bankers are very vulnerable to the infectious disease because branches are often crowded by customers. We have asked the officials to take all types of precautionary measures for their own safety."
He also said they have kept hand sanitisers in all branches of the bank for the customers.
Employees of One Bank, a local private bank, and Hongkong Shanghi Banking Corporation, a foreign bank, have also started to use gloves to deal with banknotes.
Meanwhile, a few other banks have made arrangements for hand sanitisers and facemasks for their employees.
However, larger banks, especially the state-owned Sonali and Agrani, and private-sector's Pubali, AB and Exim were yet to start such a practice till today.
According to the Bangladesh Bank data of February 20 this year, Tk1,74,929 crore paper currencies are in circulation to meet the demand of daily transections in the country.
The central bank is going to circulate Tk200 banknote for the first time from Wednesday to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Although a question has been raised among the general people as to whether the Bangladesh Bank would quarantine banknotes as a safety measure to prevent any probable outbreak of the coronavirus, spokesperson of the central bank Md Serajul Islam said they are not thinking about this at the moment.
However, high officials of the Bangladesh Bank are going to sit in a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the present situation regarding the coronavirus.
At the meeting, physician Shohidul Islam will give a presentation on the impact of the virus on banking activities.