Bus drivers in London are being scanned with thermal imaging cameras to detect signs of fever - a key symptom of coronavirus.
Transport for London is testing the use of temperature cameras with train and bus operators. Abellio, Metroline, Arriva, Stagecoach and Go Ahead are all testing thermal imaging cameras.
Thermal imaging cameras work using infrared technology, which can pick up small changes in temperature from a distance.
While not a substitute for a test, the cameras have been used as a first line check to see if someone has an unusually high temperature. They can then be recommended for a coronavirus test.
However, infrared screening alone is viewed as inadequate by experts at the World Health Organisation. Some people suffering from coronavirus do not display fever symptoms. Others display no symptoms at all.
Despite this, thermal cameras have been installed in Heathrow Airport to automatically scan arrivals to detect if they have a raised temperature. They have also become a common sight overseas and are used at airports in Asia.
Metroline, an operator of London red buses, has begun using thermal cameras to scan drivers before work from Temp Cam, which claims to give accurate skin temperature readings to within 0.3 degrees celsius scanning between 20 to 30 people at a time.
The thermal imaging cameras are designed to detect fever on drivers returning to work, who are checked at their depot and logged. Metroline did not comment.
Bus drivers have been among the most at risk employees of coronavirus, with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 drivers.
The Government has already brought in more rules for passengers travelling on public transport. Face masks have been compulsory since mid June for those travelling by bus or train. Commuters who ignore the rules risk a fine of £100 or being refused boarding.
Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said: “We are trialling a range of temperature testing equipment for drivers and staff at a number of our bus garages to see if they can play a role in our commitment to protect our staff and customers during the pandemic.
“We’re working with the Transport Research Laboratory, Unite the Union, and several bus operators on these trials.”