Portsmouth International Port is believed to be the first UK port to install a thermal temperature scanner, which will be available for cruise operators to screen their passengers.
The temperature screening technology involves using a camera detection system to monitor the temperature of passengers to help support infection control on board, this will be offered as an option for lines to use prior to arrival.
Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director, said: “We want to make sure we’re in the best position to welcome back passengers in a managed, safe and sensible way.
“Being able to help support our cruise lines by providing solutions for potential health protocols, should operators choose to use it for their customers, means we’re ready to go once travel restrictions are eased.
“There are ongoing discussions about a common framework for health screenings, which are being explored by all transport operators.
“Until there is an international standard we want to make sure we can meet a universal expectation to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.”
The thermal imaging scanner is one a raft of measures being implemented to prioritise health and safety, an overhaul of the how the terminal will function once it reopens for passengers is underway, including appropriate full face PPE for customer facing staff, social distancing measures, clinical level hand sanitation products on door handles and cleaning stations.
Mike Sellers continued: “Our key workers continued to operate since the lockdown restrictions were implemented providing essential operations for critical freight and lifeline services. It is even more important as a major port we have the right measures in place to manage the flow of people as well as goods safely.
“We’ve been listening to our cruise customers about what needs to be in place when travel restrictions are eased.
“Even if overseas travel is delayed, UK based itineraries will still be popular as the public look to find a way to have a break locally. As a port suited to small medium sized, boutique ships, we’re in an ideal position to manage a phased return to sailing, especially with the draw of our city’s attractions.
“We support the idea for sea bridges to help encourage safe travel. As a method of transport ships provide outside space, room to move around indoors, and lend themselves to social distancing measures.”
Will all passengers automatically be screened?
If cruise operators choose to use the camera, they can screen passengers before they arrive on board.
How about arrivals into the UK?
At the moment this is to support our customers minimise infection controls on board, however if the government wanted to implement strict health protocol measures we could explore introducing the camera elsewhere.
What happens if someone triggers the alarm with a high temperature?
We are only alerting the fact someone has registered a high temperature to the ship’s medical teams who will carry out their assessment whether passengers should board. We appreciate there are a number of reasons why someone might have a high temperature, but we are following PHE protocols which state anyone with a fever should remain at home and self-isolate. Currently the only way to suitably check whether the virus is the cause is by testing.
What is the accuracy rate? We scoped the market and believe this registers the best accuracy rate is +/- 0.2 degrees, if someone did score a high reading they would be screened again and that’s when the ship’s medical team would make an assessment if the temperature remained high.