Coronavirus: thermal guns used to detect foreigners in the Taj Mahal

AGRA: As the country has seen a sudden increase in the number of positive cases, the Agra administration began on Thursday the thermal detection of foreign tourists in Taj Mahal With handheld devices. The projection with '' is being carried out in the parking area of ​​the east gate of the monument. Six people from Agra are among the 30 positive cases of coronavirus detected so far in India.

Chief medical officer Dr Mukesh Kumar Vats said the health department had bought six 'thermal guns' and these were made available to screen foreign tourists, who check-in at city hotels or visit the Taj Mahal. He said the device is equipped with an infrared sensor that can quickly measure surface temperature without making any contact with a person’s skin.

In case high fever is detected, additional measures will be taken, including sample and isolation tests, if necessary, said Dr. Vats. He told TOI that a group of Italian tourists, who checked into a city hotel on Thursday, were also examined by health officials and no one had shown symptoms of coronavirus.

However, reports claim that this device is unreliable, since it generally generates a low temperature reading if placed away from a person's forehead. It also gives a high reading if it stays too close, officials said. In addition, temperature measurement may not be accurate under certain conditions, for example, if someone has taken medication to suppress fever.

According to officials, such devices are being widely used in China to detect fever in people in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly Covid-19. Previously, it was used in China to control the spread of the SARS virus in the early 2000s and against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a decade later.

On Thursday, the number of tickets sold at the counters of the Taj Mahal was 14,166, which is less compared to 14,787 sold on Wednesday. On Tuesday, 18,382 tickets were sold, according to figures provided by ASI.

Meanwhile, a hotel in Agra, where an Italian group of 19 tourists, who had arrived from Jaipur on Sunday and stayed for the night, closed by disinfection after a group member was declared positive by coronavirus in Jaipur . Dr. Vats told TOI that check-in at the hotel stopped and will open, hopefully, on Friday after a team of university doctors settles.