UAE Central Bank tells lenders to replenish ATMs with new currency notes

The regulator also advised banks to sanitise all ATMs on a regular basis

The UAE Central Bank directed banks to replenish ATMs with new banknotes of all denominations and ensure money remains available during the salary payment cycle for this month to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The central bank also advised banks to sanitise all ATMs on a regular basis and provide disposable latex gloves for customers using machines.

This is "in line with our efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and to ensure the health and safety of bank’s customers", the regulator said on Thursday.

The new directive comes as coronavirus cases in the country climb to 333 with 85 new cases reported on Wednesday. The number of recoveries totalled 52, according to Dr Farida Al Hosani, the official spokesperson for the UAE health sector.

Worldwide, there are over 472,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with more than 21,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University as of Thursday. More than 114,000 have recovered.

Last week, the central bank encouraged bank customers to use online and digital services "as a measure to protect the health and safety of UAE residents" amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“We continue to monitor the situation and will take necessary measures as needed,” Governor Mubarak Al Mansoori said. “We and the financial institutions stand strong to serve the community through multiple digital channels and contact centres.”

The regulator also cautioned consumers to “stay alert” as fraudsters may try to take advantage of the current situation. It said customers should talk to their banks directly and remember that lenders will never ask for their PIN or password, or ask to move money from their accounts.

On March 14, the central bank rolled out a Dh100 billion economic stimulus package to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak by helping to ease debt concerns for borrowers, boosting the property sector and providing support to small and medium businesses.

It is providing facilities to banks to allow them to help customers, through measures such as loan repayment holidays and reduced charges to help soften the impact of Covid-19 on their finances and relieve economic pressure.

Earlier this week, the size of the stimulus was increased through various measures to Dh126bn.

The Covid-19 health crisis represents the biggest challenge to the global economy since the 2008 financial meltdown with at least $17 trillion (Dh62.4tn) having been wiped off stock markets in the past few months.