Can temperature scanning slow COVID-19 spread? Airports are the testing ground for new tech
A camera in the security lines at Dallas Love Field is scanning every passerby for elevated temperatures, in a test by the airport and Southwest Airlines to find out if it can detect sick people before they board flights.
In the back hallways, employees are getting temperature checks at kiosks before they start work each day, trying to keep sick employees out of the airport, too.
As airlines, companies and governments scramble to reopen a battered economy facing the eighth month of a worldwide pandemic, airports are now the frontline for evolving thermal imaging technologies designed to pick out infected travelers before they can spread COVID-19 further.
Temperature scanning device makers such as Dallas-based Wello Inc. and Beaumont’s Infared Cameras Inc. have suddenly been inundated with requests for their technology. Even small restaurants, hotels and schools are asking about it.
“It’s not just convention centers and airlines,” said Gary Strahan, CEO of Infrared Cameras Inc. “It’s impacting so many different places. We have to do something.”
Thermal cameras and other technologies that can pick out COVID-19 cases are a Holy Grail for an airline industry that has lost 70% of its business and is facing another quarter of multibillion-dollar losses, along with any other business or institution trying to keep people safe.
Airlines are trying hard to find ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and assure governments that travelers aren’t bringing the disease with them.
Fort Worth-based American Airlines will let passengers bound for Hawaii take rapid COVID-19 tests at DFW International Airport. The airline is also working on a similar program for travelers to Europe and Latin America.
States such as New York require two-week quarantines for travelers from most other states, as do Hawaii, Connecticut and New Jersey. Hawaii is lifting its quarantine requirement Oct. 15 for