Today’s world is hit by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus which is firstly discovered in Wuhan, China. This disease causes pneumonia-like symptom that may lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiple organ failure, which ultimately kills approximately 5-6% of the patient globally. We have seen the world implementing a stringent lockdown procedure as attempt to contain and control the spread of the virus. It has been proven effective in some countries such as Australia, Italy, Spain, UK and New Zealand. However, the lockdown has resulted in massive economy downturn as well as loss of jobs and employment.
As the rate of infection is slowing down globally, Australia has started to reopen parts of the country to restart the economy. This is done in stages to minimize the risk of second outbreak and uncontrolled transmission in the community. Businesses are also encouraged to take part in this mitigating measure by implementing social distancing and appropriate screening protocol in the office. Some businesses have also considered installing screening tools such as thermal imaging camera at the entrance of their premises to detect employees and visitors with elevated body temperature.
Ensuring the health of the returning workers is vital as to not put the entire staffs at risk by workers who may have become infected by the virus outside. Thermal imager is a popular screening tool as most of the people infected with the COVID-19 shows symptom of fever or high temperature within 5-10 days of infection. Although having elevated body temperature does not essentially mean that the worker(s) are infected by the virus, it is reasonable to take this step to isolate and monitor these workers during this challenging period. It is important to seriously consider implementing this measure to return the country’s economy activity to the normal level. The lockdown measures cannot be in place for long period of time as it incurs massive financial loss to the government which can lead us into big recession.
Implementing a reliable screening tool not only assist in preventing the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak as seen in some countries, but also allows business to slowly transit their operation into the new normal. The cost of thermal imager may be slightly in the higher range. However, this can be offset against the loss incurred if the business has to shut their operation for weeks when one or more of their employees test positive to the virus.
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