Scanners to detect Ebola at T&T airports

(Trinidad Guardian) Three thermal scanners were handed over to the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) to assist in detecting suspected cases of Ebola entering Trinidad and Tobago. The scanners were purchased from a US firm at a total cost of TT$387,000, said chief executive officer of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Manage-ment (ODPM), Dr Stephen Ramroop, speaking at a handing over ceremony at the VIP Lounge, Piarco International Airport, on Friday.

As part of a wider detection system, the scanners will be used at the Piarco and ANR Robinson Inter-national airports. Ramroop said collaborative efforts with strategic partners such as the AATT would enhance T&T’s border security. AATT Chairman Jason Julien said the scanners were not just for Ebola detection but to ensure tighter border control.

“It is not just about the Ebola virus,” Julien said, adding that the scanners would be used to identify “any threat to the border security of T&T that may have or be related to a weapon or otherwise that could be picked up by a heat signature.” Ramroop and Julien said people would not be singled out or approached by officials and ordered to participate in the detection process.

They said the scanners would be positioned to scan arriving passengers, rather than a specific person—as body temperatures beyond 37 degrees Celsius would trigger off the computerised alarm system. Only then would passengers be taken to the port health officer for further tests. Julien declined to say exactly where the scanners would be located, for security reasons. “We have to be careful how we advertise the protections we have,” he said.

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