Heathrow to begin trials for Coronavirus detection

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Heathrow has announced that it will begin trialing new ways of detecting COVID-19.

Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye informed the House of Commons’ Transport Committee yesterday (May 6) that the airport will test technologies and processes that could help in the fight against Coronavirus and that could also form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at all global airports.

The first of the trials begin in the next two weeks and will take place in Terminal 2. It will be a temperature screening technology which uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of people moving through the airport. These passenger-facing trials will first be conducted in the airport’s immigration halls. If successful, the equipment will then be rolled out to departures, connections and colleague search areas.

As well as the temperature screening the other trials will include UV sanitation, which could be used to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays, and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact. Before any new measures are put in place they will be reviewed against Heathrow’s three tests to ensure that they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and practical for airports to deliver. The key learnings from these trials will be shared with the Government and other UK airports.

Holland-Kaye said: “Aviation is the cornerstone of the UK economy, and to restart the economy, the Government needs to help restart aviation. The UK has the world’s third largest aviation sector offering the platform for the Government to take a lead in agreeing a Common International Standard for aviation health with our main trading partners. This Standard is key to minimising transmission of Covid-19 across borders, and the technology we are trialling at Heathrow could be part of the solution.”

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