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Temperature Screening For Coronavirus ‘Unreliable’

Posted: 13/07/2020

Categories: Emergency Response & Preparedness

Manufacturers and suppliers of thermal cameras used for coronavirus temperature screening have been told that they should not make any claims that relate directly to the diagnosis of covid-19.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulates these products as medical devices if the manufacturer says they’re intended for screening of the virus but there is little scientific evidence that supports temperature screening as a reliable method of detection, particularly if this is the main method of testing.

This is because the readings taken by these screening systems measures skin temperature, instead of core body temperature and natural fluctuations can occur among healthy people, making the results unreliable.

Besides, those with the virus who don’t develop a fever or who are asymptomatic wouldn’t be detected by temperature readings, therefore potentially more likely to spread coronavirus without knowing it.

MHRA, Director of Devices, Graeme Tunbridge explained that many such products were originally meant for non-medical purposes, such as security on building sites. As such, businesses and organisations should both be aware that using them for temperature screening could be putting people at risk.

He went on to say: “These products should only be used in line with the manufacturer’s original intended use, and not to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms. They do not perform to the level required to accurately support a medical diagnosis.

“We are reminding anyone selling these products not to make claims which directly relate to covid-19 diagnosis. If they fail to comply, we will take formal enforcement action.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also just issued a warning to businesses not to use KN95 facemasks as personal protective equipment.

The organisation has issued a safety alert urging employers and suppliers not to purchase these masks for PPE reasons, with the respirator identified as the suspect by experts and locally arranged testing revealing they didn’t meet standards.

Approximately 1.5 million KN95 masks have now been quarantined by the HSE, which has prevented 25 million items claiming to be FFP3 respirators from entering the supply chain.

Domestic and international organisations continue to raise worries about KN95 masks, which includes details of illegal and counterfeit products.

The HSE has a useful section on its website dedicated to respiratory protective equipment and tight-fitting respirators such as FFP3 masks and reusable half masks must form a good seal around the face. Fit tests should be conducted to make sure that the wearer is protected by their mask.

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus or who are isolating in line with government guidance shouldn’t attend a fit test for their mask and fit testers should adhere to social distancing measures, making observations from a distance and delivering instructions verbally.

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