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Heathrow has deployed thermal technology to screen passengers’ temperatures as they move through the airport.
The airport has installed cameras in the immigration hall of Terminal 2 to screen passengers’ temperatures as they move through the terminal.
This is part of a trial intended to identity arriving passengers at risk of transmitting COVID-19. It will last for one month from today, Thursday 21 May 2020.
At the moment, the technology is only being used in the immigration hall. If successful, it will be extended to departures and flight connections.
Terminal 2 currently houses all airlines at Heathrow, apart from BA and Iberia which operate from Terminal 5.
Heathrow has provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions on temperature screening as part of its guidance on COVID-19.
Passengers do not need to do anything differently. They will not be stopped by any members of staff. Whilst Heathrow insists that no personally identifiable data will be gathered, passengers also have the option of taking a different route to avoid the cameras if they wish.
Heathrow hopes this will help form part of a common international standard to screen passengers at airports. Though, it has not yet cited any medical evidence for efficacy.
At present, there isn’t anything close to a common standard amongst airports and airlines on what measures should be adopted to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Some airlines and airports have made the wearing of face coverings or masks compulsory. Others, including Heathrow, haven’t. Some airlines have implemented social distancing on aircraft. Others consider there is no scientific basis for this and it renders flights commercially unviable. Some airports such as Hong Kong International also test passengers for COVID-19.
The UK government is also expected to introduce a mandatory 14 day quarantine period on passengers arriving in the UK. However, there are appears to be no consensus in government on which countries and passengers should be exempt from this.