COVID-19: Portsmouth port installs thermal temperature scanner to test foot passengers

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Portsmouth port has installed a thermal scanner to screen departing passengers for coronavirus symptoms.

Portsmouth International Port explains the camera would be available to test foot passengers on ferries and cruise ships once travel restrictions are eased.

The port, however, clarifies that the thermal imaging camera, is accurate to within 0.2C, will be offered to ferry and cruise operators to test passengers before boarding.

The high temperature would trigger an alarm and a medical team would decide whether to allow the passenger to travel.

A high temperature, possibly indicating a passenger with a fever, would trigger an alarm, photo credit: BBC
Portsmouth International Port said it was the first port in the UK to introduce the technology, photo credit: BBC

Mike Sellers Portsmouth International Port director said: “We want to make sure we are in the best position to welcome back passengers in a managed, safe and sensible way.

“Being able to help support our cruise lines by providing solutions for potential health protocols, should operators choose to use it for their customers, means we are ready to go once travel restrictions are eased.

Furthermore, Sam Clifford, a research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said not all people with Covid-19 would have a raised temperature.

He said: “We need to be careful not to fool ourselves into thinking that this will catch absolutely everybody.”

The World Health Organization has warned temperature screening for Covid-19 could yield false positives and is not effective for those who are asymptomatic.

The port, however, pointed out: it did not plan to screen arrivals, but the scanner would be available for that purpose if the government required it.

Thermal scanners have already been introduced at some UK airports including Heathrow and Bournemouth .

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