BUENOS AIRES, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese facial recognition technology has become an ally in Argentina's battle against COVID-19, helping promote social distancing and the use of face masks, and protecting public transit riders by checking commuters for fever before boarding.
Through state-owned company Trenes Argentinos Operaciones, Argentine Ministry of Transportation recently launched a two-week pilot program that saw new facilities equipped with such technoogy installed at turnstile entrances to Buenos Aires' main Mitre Line of commuter trains.
"This technology has the ability to detect if a person has symptoms of COVID-19, (such as) a temperature, and when the screen focuses on them, it can determine if they have a face mask on or not," Mitre Line's manager Ivan Kildoff told Xinhua.
"If their temperature isn't right, they won't be able to access the platform area to board the train," said Kildoff.
The technology supplied by Chinese company Hikvision uses a thermal camera that allows temperature readings from a distance of 1.8 meters and, through video analytics, determines whether the person is wearing a face mask.
In case of a fever or lack of a mask, the turnstiles won't open. In addition, the technology can alert a monitoring center if someone has a fever and send along their image, so cases can be tracked.
After the 15-day trial of the technology, officials aim to expand the system to other commuter lines.
"If it works well at this (station), which has a lot of passengers, it has to work at the others," said Kildoff.
The technology is part of a series of health and hygiene measures implemented by the capital city's public transit network, which is currently reserved for essential workers.
Hikvision operates in more than 150 countries and employs some 25,000 workers worldwide. The company saw its traditional business impacted by pandemic restrictions on mobility, but its sales rebounded as it adapted its technology to meet the challenges of the health crisis.
In its battle against COVID-19, Argentina has also deployed thermal imaging cameras made by Chinese firm Dahua Technology on buses in Buenos Aires.
Argentina has reported over 162,500 cases of COVID-19 infection, close to 3,000 deaths from the disease and nearly 50,000 recoveries. Enditem