BEIJING, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- China has set up a green channel for payment and clearing businesses to ensure the timely transfer of money amid the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak, a central bank official said Saturday.
During the Jan. 24-Feb. 14 period, a total of 393,500 payment transactions were handled through the high-value and micropayment systems of the central bank, involving an amount of 77.37 trillion yuan (about 11.06 trillion U.S. dollars), said Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), at a press conference.
Of the total, 872 payment transactions or 44.8 billion yuan were related to the prevention and control of the epidemic, Fan said.
On Feb. 3, the PBOC extended the operation period of the high-value payment system, whose operation is usually suspended during the Spring Festival holiday, to meet the demand of interbank market trading and special re-lending businesses.
The central bank has taken measures to strengthen the cash supply and liquidity management, with 4 billion yuan of new banknotes being allocated to Wuhan city, the epicenter of the outbreak, according to Fan.
Besides, it has enhanced the disinfection of banknotes in circulation to ensure the public uses "sanitary money."
Cash withdrawn from the regions severely hit by the outbreak should be disinfected by ultraviolet rays or high temperatures, and be stored for more than 14 days before being pumped into the market again, according to Fan.
The central bank has issued a circular asking its branches and commercial banks to take differentiated measures according to the local conditions to ensure the safety of banknotes.
The PBOC will work to firmly implement the supportive financial policies for the epidemic control and support qualified enterprises to resume production and operation as soon as possible, he said.