Airports to Test New Screening Technology to Combat Coronavirus Spread

As states begin allowing businesses to open, airports around the United States and the world are testing new technology designed to determine if travelers exhibit coronavirus symptoms.

According to the Los Angeles Times, facilities have started testing and implementing thermal cameras, sanitation booths and other equipment to avoid the spread of the virus and protect airport screeners from being infected.

With air travel down by as much as 95 percent in some parts of the U.S., airports and airlines will have to work hard to ensure travelers feel safe taking to the skies again. Officials believe enhanced health screening protocols would help alleviate concerns.

At Hong Kong International Airport, officials have launched a sealed booth pilot program that first tests a person’s temperature and then sprays them with a sanitation formula. The entire process takes around 40 seconds and is currently being used on airport employees.

As for the most heavily trafficked areas of the Hong Kong airport, “autonomous cleaning robots equipped with virus-killing ultraviolet light” spray antimicrobial coatings and air sterilizers to kill germs.

While some of the advancements used in Hong Kong could make their way to the busiest American airports, stationary thermal cameras are more readily available and can determine the temperature of a passenger from up to 15 feet away.

The stationary thermal cameras also help human screeners avoid being in close personal contact with passengers, as several airports in the past have used hand-held thermometers to find a person’s temperature.

If a traveler is determined to have a fever, they would be moved to an area dedicated to further testing from medical professionals before being denied entry completely. The plan was designed to avoid slowing down the security screening process.

Health experts believe people with coronavirus can be asymptomatic, but airport officials are working to stop as many sick passengers as possible with the available technology.