Hong Kong Air Terminals Ltd introduce thermal cameras for COVID-19 checks

Hactl staff queue for their orders at the company's staff canteen in Hong Kong. (Hactl)

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) – Hong Kong’s largest independent cargo handler – has announced the installation of thermal cameras in its staff canteen and throughout its SuperTerminal 1 to help to identify any individual with an abnormally high body temperature, which is a key indicator of potential infection with coronavirus. The announcement was made on April 16.

Hactl added that it has now restricted the number of seats in use in its canteen in order to comply with distancing directives; only seats facing in the same direction are now available. Hactl’s canteen also now provides a sit-down meal service only for its staff and tenants based in SuperTerminal 1; all others may only purchase takeaway food.

The company’s large-scale canteen facilities normally cater for the company’s own 2,400-strong resident workforce, as well as workers for its many on-site industry tenants, along with large numbers of daily business visitors.

The firm said it is also now implementing additional temperature checks for all staff during their shifts or, in the case of office staff, after their lunch breaks.

Meanwhile, Hactl continues with its original safety measures including a ban on business travel, restricting business meetings to teleconferencing, and home-working for some office staff. All staff and visitors to SuperTerminal 1 are temperature-checked before being allowed access to the building, all staff are provided with face masks and hand sanitiser, and shift rosters are constantly reviewed in order to minimise the number of staff on site at any one time.

Jason Lee, Hactl’s head of human resources, said: “The safety of our own and our customers’ staff remains our highest priority, and I am therefore pleased to report that we have so far had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our staff. I attribute this at least partially to the speed with which we took action, and the effectiveness of our various measures.

“But it is clear that nobody is exempt from this awful disease, and our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones – including, sadly, frontline staff from the logistics sector who have fallen victim to COVID-19, while bravely helping to sustain essential supply lines in the face of this unprecedented threat.

“For the time being, we continue to do the only things we can – we maintain our vigilance, and we preserve and strengthen our protective measures in the hope that our good fortune may persist.”