A woman who was afraid of contracting coronavirus tried to disinfect a bundle of cash by putting it into her microwave.
According to Chinese media, a resident of Jiangyin City in the southern Jiangsu province named locally as “Aunt Li” ended up burning just over 3,000 Renminbi (around £300) instead.
She had been concerned that the notes could be carrying the virus and popped them into the oven in the hope that the radiation would kill the bug but the note quickly began to char at the edges and turn black.
According to Chinese media outlet Sina Finance, Ms Li took the scorched cash to her bank for advice, but many of the notes were unrecognisable and bank staff were unsure about whether they could be exchanged.
Cash from “key areas of epidemic prevention and control” is subjected to ultraviolet light or high temperatures to disinfect the notes, which are then kept for seven to 14 days before being released into the market.
While the notes were forensically checked to determine whether they were genuine, bank staff assured the woman that currency is safe to use despite the virus outbreak.
Speaking to Sina Finance, a spokesperson for China CITIC Bank reassured the public that all cash drawn from financial institutions was “clean money” as banks have to abide by measures put in place by the People’s Bank of China in February.
“The cash passing through these processes are very safe,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. “Despite this, the general public is encouraged to make payments through contactless methods such as bar code payment and credit card payment to the greatest extent possible to block the risk of epidemic transmission.”