A vendor holds up new banknotes at a bank on April 6, 2018.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Ministry of Finance on Wednesday said the Treasury Department will release new coins and collect old ones for a thorough cleanup to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

“In Thailand, cash is the main source of transactions. People still carry cash with them to buy food and items,” said Yuttana Yimgarund, director-general of the department.

“The virus can stick onto old coins for 5-7 days and with banknotes for 9 days,” said Yuttana, adding that they will use ultraviolet light at 200 degrees Celsius to sanitize the old coins and banknotes.

Yuttana said people can still use detergent to wash and dry coins under the sunlight or use alcohol to clean them.

“The government would like to encourage all Thais to make payments through online channels and money transfers,” he said, noting that the Treasury Department will be releasing 31 billion coins in the meantime.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday reported 120 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths, sending the total number of confirmed cases to 1,771 and death toll at 12.

Trains suspended

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) on Wednesday also suspended the service of its 44 commercial trains to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Many provinces are locked down already so it is not necessary to run trains at those provinces,” said SRT acting governor Warawut Mala.

The state enterprise promises to fully refund money for the people who earlier booked train tickets, Warawut said.

Pakapong Sirikantaramas, governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA), also has said the authority plans to reduce its train trips.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday warned that if Thais don’t observe social distancing and follow the guidelines of the Government, he will order the shutdown of all public transport to contain COVID-19.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday reported 120 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths, with the total number of confirmed cases in the country rising to 1,771 and death toll at 12.