Coronavirus: Amazon using thermal cameras to detect Covid-19
Amazon has installed thermal cameras in its warehouses in the United Kingdom and around the world to select workers for coronavirus symptoms.
Cameras can help detect fever by comparing a person’s body heat with that of their surroundings.
The technology is faster than the short-range thermometers the company had previously relied on.
Covid-19 cases have been reported among staff at over 50 Amazon warehouses in the United States.
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And the workers said that it is almost impossible to practice social removal within the warehouses.
“We have implemented daily temperature checks in our operations as an additional preventive measure to support the health and safety of our employees, who continue to provide a vital service in our communities,” an Amazon spokesman told BBC News.
“We are now implementing the use of thermal imaging cameras for temperature screening to create a leaner experience on some of our sites.”
The use of thermal imaging technology will also replace thermometers a staff entering many Amazon Whole Foods stores.
Thermascan CEO Dave Blane said that thermal technology has been used extensively since airports around the world adopted it during the 2003 acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic.
“We have seen an increase in the use of thermal technology in a variety of industries, to the point that there are almost no problems keeping up with demand,” he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that temperature screening for Covid-19 could produce false positives and is not effective for those who are asymptomatic.
But Blane said that “technology today can be incredibly precise” and should be used more widely.
Global demand for online deliveries has skyrocketed as many countries have closed stores to comply with the coronavirus blockade.
In March, Amazon fired a worker in New York City who organized a protest over working conditions in the warehouses.
Meanwhile, the company’s six warehouses in France will remain closed at least until Wednesday, following a dispute over sanitary conditions.