The Panama metro (subway) began installing thermal cameras at its stations to detect users with possible COVID-19 infection, at a time when the country has the highest number of detected cases of the new coronavirus in Central America.
This project consists of cameras with infrared sensors at the entrance of the stations, in the area of the access turnstiles, to detect people with high temperatures, who may be suspicions of contagion, Panama subway officials reported Tuesday.
COVID-19 “is going to change the way to mobilize, function and operate mass transportation,” the director of the Panama Metro, Héctor Ortega, told the press.
In this first phase, thermal cameras will be installed in 12 of the 30 stations (14 of Line 1 and 16 of Line 2) that connect Panama City and its surroundings, then extend the camera system to the rest of the stations.
In a second phase, the Panamanian subway intends to install facial recognition cameras that will be linked to a cedula (national identity card), which would allow locating the home of people who register a high temperature.
To users who are detected with a high temperature will have an identification protocol applied by police and health authorities.
Once the user is detained, they will undergo a second test to see if they have fever, one of the symptoms of the new coronavirus, and if positive, they will be isolated from the rest of the users.
The objective is to put this system into operation once the current quarantine is lifted – without a defined term yet – to contain the virus.
As at this morning, April 22, Panama reported 4,821 confirmed infections and 141 deaths., the highest in both in Central America although the Panamanian government assures that it is due to the greater number of testing it performs.
The two lines of the Panama metro – one of them underground – had a flow of 9.2 million passengers in January 2020, although it has decreased to 5.6 million in March due to the mandatory quarantine and the reduction of services.