Aerostar Airport Holdings, the company that operates the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, has invested $125,000 to implement thermographic technology to track temperature to 100% of passengers entering the island through domestic and international flights.
As this media outlet reported last week, there are 11 cameras installed throughout the airport’s terminals. The investment covers both the cost of technology and equipment, as well as the installation, airport officials said.
Aerostar Airport Holdings CEO Jorge Hernández said the Fever early warning system has been used in the past as a temperature detection mechanism in prevention against SARS in several countries in Asia and was recently successfully used in Taiwan in the fight against COVID-19.
This system makes the airport the first in Puerto Rico, the United States mainland and the Caribbean that will be able to perform a sweeping temperature detection.
“It’s precision is such that it can scan groups of people simultaneously,” he said.
The system consists of smart mass temperature detection technology, made up of 11 infrared thermal imaging cameras. When a temperature of 100.3 F or more is detected, the system issues an immediate alert that triggers an alarm.
This sends a notice to the National Guard, which pull the person aside for a more comprehensive screening. The image is stored, producing a video for documentation. Although the system issues the alert upon detecting a passenger with a temperature indicative of fever, it continues to monitor all passengers uninterruptedly.
For the first time, the temperature of employees, officials of local and federal agencies working at the airport, and visitors who pass through these entry points, can also be monitored, Hernández said.
“This initiative is an example of the response and agility that can be achieved through a public-private partnership and collaboration between the government and the private sector,” said Hernández.
“The installation of this equipment will allow the National Guard to refocus its resources during this emergency and to be more efficient in their use and be able to distribute our soldiers at other airports,” said Puerto Rico National Guard Division General José Reyes.
“Our men and women soldiers continue to collaborate with other agencies in an effort to contain this virus as much as possible,” he said.
“Our priority in this process is clear, to minimize the COVID-19 outbreak in Puerto Rico and protect our people from this terrible virus. But this battle is not only of the government or the National Guard, this is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.