THE World Health Organization is encouraging countries to take advantage of e-payment systems as an alternative to cash-based transactions. This is to limit the use of cash in making transactions, since cash itself is a potential agent of transfer of the COVID-19 virus. Accordingly, several central banks, including the Bank of England, the Bank of Korea and the US Federal Reserve, have resorted to burning cash or at least mandating banks to sanitize their cash holdings and place them in quarantine for 14 days.
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, although necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19, has resulted in the grave vulnerability to hunger and poverty of households reliant on non-regular forms of employment and with no savings and little or no access to social protection. Programs intending to alleviate the impact of the ECQ should target them first.