Thermal imaging cameras are not suitable for COVID-19 screening

Jul 9, 2020

by Frank Crouwel

We highlighted our concern about the potential misuse of thermal imaging cameras for the purpose of COVID-19 screening in a blog post on 30th April. Our concern was and is that a societal perception is being created that thermal cameras are an effective tool in their own right to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus, or any fever-based illness, and that this would create a false sense of security amongst those where it is being used.

We therefore welcome the press release of the Government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) explicitly stating that thermal cameras are not suitable for COVID-19 screening.

We quote Mr Greame Tunbridge, MHRA Director of Devices, saying in the press release that “Many thermal cameras and temperature screening products were originally designed for non-medical purposes, such as for building or site security. Businesses and organisations need to know that using these products for temperature screening could put people’s health at risk.”

In the same press release Health Minister Lord Bethell said:

“As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.”

“The best way to protect customers and minimise the risk of catching the virus is to always follow social distancing guidelines, wearing a face mask on public transport and enclosed public spaces, and regularly washing your hands.”

We hope that this intervention from the health experts will stop those in the security industry from continuing to promote thermal cameras for this purpose and that businesses recognise that buying into this (expensive) technology is not only unnecessary but even may put people at risk.
All enquiries we have received for thermal cameras since the coronavirus outbreak have been replied to with a warning of their unsuitability for COVID-19 screening. Now we have the MHRA press release regarding this issue we’ll issue this to any enquiries we’ll receive from hereon.

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