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As the world prepares for travel post-COVID-19, developments such as cleaning robots, temperature checks, and anti-microbial coating have become the new norm at international airports. Hong Kong is the latest country to introduce these technologies at its airport. By Upasana Singh
After Dubai and Abu Dhabi employed robots to disinfect its airport for safe travel amid the Coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong International Airport has started human trials of their full-body disinfect booth. One of Asia’s busiest airports, they have employed these disinfection technologies to ensure virus-free travel.
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Hong Kong’s Airport Authority claims that it is the first in the world to start trials of CleanTech—a disinfection booth that cleans passengers from head to toe. After travellers have their temperatures checked, they step inside the booth to get sanitized by a disinfectant spray for about 40 seconds. The inside of the booth is coated with anti-microbial solutions that can remotely kill any viruses, germs, or bacteria found on clothing and the exterior of human bodies, without touching. Photocatalyst advances along with ‘nano needles’ are used to disinfect individuals from top to bottom. To prevent cross-contamination, the booth is kept under negative pressure, just like the isolation technique used in hospitals and medical centres. Check-in counters, kiosks, seats, toilets, luggage trolleys, elevator buttons, and other high-touch surfaces may get coated with the same anti-microbial solution.
The airport has also deployed Intelligent Sterilization Robots for public toilets and other passenger facilities. With ultraviolet light and air sterilizers that can kill up to 99.99 per cent bacteria in the air and on surfaces within 10 minutes, these robots operate at crucial areas within the terminal building.
As reported by Times of India, Steven Yiu, Deputy Director, Service Delivery of the Airport Authority (AA) said, “The safety and well-being of airport staff and passengers are always our first priority. Although air traffic has been impacted by the pandemic, the AA spares no effort in ensuring that the airport is a safe environment for all users. We will continue to look into new measures to enhance our cleaning and disinfection work.”
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Currently, CleanTech trials on airport staff have begun. The authorities are planning to conduct them on passengers soon. Once the trial is completed, a decision will be made on whether to implement the technology permanently.
Airlines around the world have instructed people to wear masks to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Hong Kong International Airport is one of several aviation bodies that has announced new safety measures given the current COVID-19 crisis.