Heathrow to begin temperature screening passengers

Heathrow said it will launch a trial in the next fortnight involving cameras that monitor temperatures.
Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspon

Heathrow has announced it will begin temperature screening of passengers.

It comes despite Downing Street insisting the measure is not regarded as an effective way of tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

The west London airport said it will launch a trial in the next fortnight involving cameras that monitor temperatures.

They will initially be used to monitor arriving passengers in Heathrow's immigration halls but could also be deployed in areas for departures, connections and airport staff searches.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said it will trial technologies and processes that could form the basis of a common international standard for health screening at airports in a bid to encourage passengers to return to flying.

Temperature screening of passengers has been in use by airports in some countries for several weeks.

Mr Holland-Kaye urged the British government to "help restart aviation".

He added: "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."

Asked about temperature tests at airports, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "It's something we considered as part of our response to this pandemic and the advice of the scientific and medical experts was that it was not something that would be effective."

Professor Ashley Woodcock, associate dean for clinical affairs and professor of respiratory medicine at University of Manchester, said around 3-5% of the population are asymptomatic, have a normal temperature and are carrying Covid-19.

"I don't see how temperature screening helps control cross infection," he said.

"We have to assume everyone is infectious and make sure our own protection is good enough."

Read more: Airports asked to provide social distancing details following Aer Lingus flight row

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