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Temperature checks may become the new norm at airports.
The CEO of Heathrow Airport in England recently discussed the use of infrared cameras at airports to screen out passengers who might be sick. According to the executive, several airports around the world have adopted this practice and he believes it may stick around after the coronavirus outbreak.
“Public Health England has obviously looked at (thermal cameras) and decided that it’s not appropriate for testing,” Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye explained, “but I can completely understand why passengers would wonder why they saw cameras at the airport where they got on the plane but didn’t see them when they arrived.”
In an interview with The Times UK, John Holland-Kaye discussed the lack of thermal screening at British Airports. While the practice is not in use at the country at this time, he does understand why some travelers may expect it.
During the interview, he called for global collaboration on health testing. He believes this would help “provide reassurance and confidence in flying” once the pandemic ends and travel restrictions are lifted.
In regards to thermal cameras, he told the outlet that he understands why some travelers might see the cameras at other destinations and “assume that must be a higher level of testing” compared to the practices at airports across England (including Heathrow).
“Public Health England has obviously looked at this and decided that it’s not appropriate for testing,” he explained, “but I can completely understand why passengers would wonder why they saw cameras at the airport where they got on the plane but didn’t see them when they arrived.”
While thermal cameras may help officials identify travelers with elevated body temperatures, the effectiveness of the cameras has been called into question. It’s possible for someone to be infected with COVID-19 at not show any symptoms at all.
Holland-Kaye reportedly called for nations to agree on health testing regulations for after the coronavirus pandemic ends, comparing thermal cameras to the liquid bans put into effect in 2006.
“That was a big change in the way people travel,” he explained. “It helped keep people safe.”