SANTIAGO, July 14 (Xinhua) -- At Chilean copper mines, local employees no longer need to scan their fingerprints to get access to the facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, facial recognition technology is used to reduce risks of infections from indirect contact.
Thanks to the support of the facial recognition technology from 19-year-old Chinese firm Hikvision, founded in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Chile has installed over 700 thermal cameras for towns, mines and hospitals in the capital Santiago and other parts of the country.
So far, Chile has registered 319,493 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 7,069 deaths, according to the country's health ministry.
In recent weeks, the ministry has reported an improvement in their efforts to fight the pandemic amid a decline in new cases.
Samuel Ramirez, director of Business Development at Hikvision Chile, told Xinhua that the South American country wants to do all it can to promote social distancing and minimize viral spread while keeping up productivity during the pandemic.
Therefore, Chile has turned to solutions it saw being implemented in China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries, Ramirez said, adding that that is why Hikvision's facial recognition technology was introduced into Chile.
According to Ramirez, the thermal cameras installed can gauge the temperature of up to 30 people per second to identify potential COVID-19 infections, alert the individual and help prevent the spread of the disease.
"The cameras have the ability to identify the area of the face between the nose and the upper part of the forehead ... through a thermometric lens that works together with a video surveillance lens, all within the camera," he said.
Besides, the artificial intelligence incorporated in the surveillance system can immediately sound an alert when it detects a person not wearing a face mask, which is mandatory in Chile. It can also bar entry to employees who should be in quarantine.
The technology was once used at bus terminals "to know how many people pay the fare," and now it can help to see "how many people are wearing a face mask or have a temperature," Ramirez said.
Apart from the facial recognition technology, the Chinese firm is also offering to Chile handheld devices capable of gauging temperature from more than three meters away, to help control entry to supermarkets, airports and workplaces without jeopardizing the health of security employees.
"We have seen that technology has been present in countries that have best controlled the pandemic and that speaks well of the available tools ... the idea is to have all this experience serve to implement preventive measures," said Ramirez. Enditem