Covid-19: Roissy airport is equipped with thermal cameras to detect feverish passengers

Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport announced on May 14, 2020 that it had 12 thermal imaging cameras installed in the baggage claim room on arrival for international flights.

Detect infected passengers

Tested for several weeks on voluntary employees, this device aims to detect feverish passengers likely to be affected by Covid-19. If the threshold of 38 degrees is exceeded, airport staff could again take the person’s temperature via a contactless thermometer. If the fever is confirmed, she will be offered a medical visit during which a doctor suggested she perform a test. The Airport Emergency Medical Service (SAMU) is responsible for this protocol developed with the Robert-Ballanger intercommunal hospital center in Aulnay-sous-Bois-Villepinte.

Thermal camera systems have been installed in 18 airports in the international network of the Paris Airport group (ADP). “In fact, we share the same health requirements at group level around the measures put in place and the challenges to be met so that citizens of the whole world can find their way to our airports with confidence.“, can we read in the press release.

Temperature measurement, a false indicator

Thermal cameras are acclaimed by several companies. Amazon has installed them in its American warehouses and at the entrance to Whole Foods stores. The British telecoms operator Vodafone has launched a connected thermal camera to secure the return of employees to their workplace. However, this enthusiasm raises several issues.

Firstly, body temperature is not a reliable indicator of contamination since fever is not always present in patients and it can be masked by drugs. The High Council for Public Health has even spoken out against this type of control at the entrance to places welcoming the public. In this regard, ADP states that taking the temperature must be supplemented by wearing a mask, washing hands, physical distance, etc.

Strict regulations

In addition, French regulations currently prohibit employers from installing thermal imaging cameras in their business. Only the taking of manual temperature without constitution of file is authorized, points out the National commission of data processing and freedoms (Cnil) in a document published on May 7, 2020. Indeed, when it is the object of a treatment , an individual’s body temperature constitutes sensitive data relating to their health justifying that it is the subject of special protection.


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